Health Capability Deprivations in a Rural Swazi Community: Understanding Complexity With Theoretically Informed, Qualitatively Driven, Mixed-Method Design, Participatory Action Research

Michelle R. Brear, Pinky N. Shabangu, Jane R. Fisher, Karin Hammarberg, Helen M. Keleher, Charles Livingstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Comprehensive theories of health justice can supplement rights-based approaches like primary health care, by conceptualizing key terms, and systematizing knowledge about structural factors that influence health. Our aim was to use “health capability” as a theoretical lens for understanding how primary health care approaches might address structural factors impeding health in a rural Swazi community. We conducted abductive, interpretive, analysis of a mixed-method (QUAL+quan) data set about “health capability deprivations,” generated through participatory action research. Four themes are discussed: illness and disease, unhealthy daily living environments, inability to move freely, and gendered expectations and norms. The analysis demonstrates that there were complex interrelationships between health capability deprivations, material and ideological deprivation prevented community members from aspiring to or securing their right to health, health capability theory can augment primary health care approaches and vice versa, and qualitatively driven, mixed-method research can generate unique insights about structural factors that influence health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1897-1909
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Africa / Africans, South
  • case study design, collaborative research design, qualitative
  • community and public health
  • complexity
  • determinants of health
  • health promotion
  • social issues, inequality

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