Objective: To contribute to the development of a resource-oriented medical language by identifying self-assessed personal health resources in women.
Design: Key questions were developed to invite the patient to tell the general practitioner about such resources. Patients' answers were audiotaped and analysed qualitatively according to Giorgi's phenomenological approach. The theoretical frame of reference included salutogenesis, patient-centredness, and gender perspectives.
Setting: Two female general practitioners and their consultations.
Subjects: 37 consecutive female patients aged 24-85 years.
Main outcome measures: Common aspects of personal qualities and strategies considered by women as their health resources.
Results: The material unveiled health resources related to 1) internal strength mobilized by external strain, 2) interactive networks within and outside the family, 3) lifestyle practices, 4) physical and social activity, 5) acceptance and facilitation of the natural course of Disease, and 6) constitution.
Conclusion: Female patients have explicit and intelligible ideas about their self-assessed personal health resources, which can be identified and mobilized by the general practitioner and form part of potentially empowering strategies in medical practice.