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In the United Kingdom (UK), government policy urges involvement of patients in their care and in health-related research. Women prisoners have considerable health needs and constitute an important "patient" group. This study explores women prisoners' perceptions of health and illness to consider the extent to which they differed from those of lay people. Thirty-seven women participated in six focus groups across two prisons in England. They spoke about their views of health and what it was to be healthy. Women prisoners' concepts of health and well-being were similar to those of lay people and they demonstrated a good understanding of the key health issues faced by women prisoners. This group have much to contribute to the research process and researchers should attempt to overcome the existing barriers in order to involve prisoners more fully in line with UK Government policy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Public Health Policy

Publication Date





424 - 439


Concept Formation, Female, Focus Groups, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Health Policy, Humans, Life Style, Patient Participation, Pilot Projects, Prisoners, Prisons, Public Health, Public Policy, Qualitative Research, Women's Health