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Barber B.K.,Tennessee Technological University | Spellings C.,Tennessee Technological University | McNeely C.,Tennessee Technological University | Page P.D.,Delaware Technical Community College | And 5 more authors.
Social Science and Medicine | Year: 2014

Too little is known about human functioning amidst chronic adversity. We addressed that need by studying adult Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), a population that has experienced longstanding economic and political hardships. Fourteen group interviews were conducted in February, 2010 in Arabic by local fieldworkers with 68 participants representing the main stratifications of Palestinian society: gender, region, refugee status, and political affiliation. Interview tasks included each participant: describing someone doing well and not well, free listing domains of functioning, and prioritizing domains to the three most important. Thematic analyses highlighted the dominating role of the political domain of functioning (e.g., political structures, constraints, effects, identity, and activism) and the degree to which political conditions impacted all other realms of functioning (economic, education, family, psychological, etc.). The discussion links the findings to relevant theory and empirical work that has called attention to the need to include the political in frameworks of quality of life. It also emphasized that values, such as justice, rights, dignity and self-determination, that underlie political structures and policies, are key elements of human functioning. This is the case not only in the oPt, but in any society where power imbalances marginalize segments of the population. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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