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Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

During the past decades, researchers have been questioning the regularities of human illness patterns in order to establish the main factors of disease development in the human body. At first, scientists had a tendency to compare human health conditions on the basis of the health state of other people. It was in 1961 when Dunn proposed a four-quadrant matrix, the primary purpose of which was to show interdependence between humans’ environment and well-being and patterns of their health conditions (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). The main purpose of this paper is to analyze Dunn’s health-illness continuum as well as to apply its regularities to the personal experience. Hence, it may be defined to which quadrant it currently belongs and what measures need to be taken towards its improvement.

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The modern healthcare system proves that people’s overall health, to a great extent, depends on the environment and various personal characteristics. The Health-illness continuum shows that human beings can potentially fall into four major categories, varying between the individual level of well-being and type of environment in terms of their favorability. Thus, people with a high level of well-being and a favorable environment tend to live rather healthy lives, while people with the opposite ratio mostly suffer from various diseases. Such a paradigm can be proved with the help of the healthcare system with its relatively high prices for health insurance, unreachable for a considerable population number.

Although the health-illness continuum is visible on almost any aspect of human health, the most concerning issue is now closely connected to mental health. People do not pay much attention and finance to the health aspect that interferes with the development of a great number of chronic diseases. The notion of positive health, crucial for the development of a healthy lifestyle, presupposes that a human being is capable of understanding and acceptance of all the mental processes happening in his or her brain (Van Erp Taalman Kip & Hutschemaekers, 2018). Thus, in order to reach the quadrant of absolute well-being, people should put themselves in an environment with a low probability of stressful situations.

Speaking of the notion of mental health on a personal level, I should say that the general level of my well-being falls into the positive half of the matrix. However, the issue of the environment contributes a lot to the overall deterioration of my health state.

The level of stressful events is, to a great extent, triggering my mental and, consequently, physical condition. Researchers claim that an appropriate medical intervention in a health follow-up is a direct way to improve the patient’s overall condition (Worawong, Borden, Cooper, Pérez, & Lauver, 2017). Hence, consulting with specialists about the coping mechanisms to deal with stress would be the most rational thing to do. In such a way, the current level of academic strain and personal concerns would be reduced, and as a result, I would not suffer from overload implications.

To sum everything up, in the 21st century, the notion of health is connected to environmental factors as never before. As long as people underestimate the interrelation of both mental and physical well-being, they will continue to be affected by diseases that could have easily been prevented by paying more attention to one’s surroundings. The two key factors of a healthy lifestyle, including well-being and environment, are only beneficial when they go in symbiosis without prevailing with each other.


Edelman, C.L., & Kudzma, E.C. (2018). Health promotion throughout the life span. Toronto, Canada: Elsevier.

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Van Erp Taalman Kip, R.M., & Hutschemaekers, G. J.M. (2018). Health, well-being, and psychopathology in a clinical population: Structure and discriminant validity of mental health continuum short form (MHC-SF). J. Clin Psychology, 74(10), 1719-1729.

Worawong, C, Borden, M.J., Cooper, K.M., Pérez, O.A., & Lauver, D. (2017). Evaluation of a person-centered, theory-based intervention to promote health behaviors. Nursing Research, 67(1), 6-15.

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