Health-Illness Continuum


Illness-Wellness continuum is an illustration which proposed that the well-being of an individual is composed of the mental consciousness, emotional health and the state of whether a person has an illness or not. This concept was proposed by Travis in the year 1972. The healthy condition of a person varies with times where one could be physically fine and in other instances suffer from certain conditions(Payton, 2017).Examination of the health-illness continuum and its relation to the human experience helps to recognize the importance of adaptation to maintain health and well-being.Currently, healthcare focuses more on disease and illness and less on well-being and health. Every individualhave their unique health definition based on how they feel, are there any symptoms of an illness, and can they function and carry out daily duties. A continuum care system helps in the tracking of a patient’s condition from time to time and can determine the intensity of care that they need to say healthy.

Health-illness continuum

A state of well-being or wellness is a dynamic goal and a growing process. Therefore, decision making is required daily in areas relating to health and encompasses the whole individual. High-level wellness is on the right end of the continuum while illness or premature death is to the left. The midline of the continuum is a neutral point with no discernible illness or wellness. The theory relates that individuals move back and forth on the continuum daily(Greenberg, 2015). Along the continuum, is the treatment paradigm to the left of the neutral point. This is where traditional healthcare falls, in treatment and intervention of illness and disease states. The move to the left an individual move on the continuum, the more healthcare takes over, and the patient is doing very little to get well. Traditional medicine can only return the person to the neutral point along the wellness continuum. Once the midline is reached, it is up to the individual to assume responsibility and take the active role in the attainment of the wellness’ higher level

Reflection on my overall state of health

In reflecting on illness and wellness regarding my health, I am fully aware, educated and continually growing in health and wellness regarding how to keep myself fit to avoid contracting different diseases and conditions. Factors that contribute to my wellness include a positive forward attitude, healthy eating habits based on the Mediterranean, low carbohydrate diet due to a family history of diabetes and heart disease, and some moderate exercise(Ogden, 2012). Options and resources available to assist with my journey of continued wellness come from within the person in me. The personal human experience involves resilience to move forward with a positive attitude. With a continued realization of the illness-wellness continuum, there are days that I can perform better, especially with physical exercise, but remember when I could not walk and the days were gloomy, the fight back to health and wellness will never have been in vain.

Options and resources available to help me moving toward wellness

There are seven dimensions involved in attaining a higher level of wellness. These can also be defined as the options and resources available to help in the journey towards health and wellness. The physical dimension includes avoiding abuses, maintain nutrition, and achieve fitness and the ability to carry out activities. Social dimensions involve how an individual interacts and if they can develop and maintain an intimate relationship while expressing emotions and the ability to manage stress involves the emotional aspect. Intellectual dimension, on the other hand, entails the skill to learn and information use. The spiritual dimension consists of a system or a force of belief that is present and serves to unite. Both external and internal factors affect health status, beliefs, and practices. Internal factors are biological, such as genetics, age, gender and development, psychological, such as self-concept and mind-body interactions, and cognitive, such as religious beliefs and lifestyle choices. External factors relate to social support, cultural beliefs, and family, standards of living and physical environment.


For the health-illness continuum to function well, nurses are typically taught to care for patients and not just treat the patients. A determinant of the human experience is feeling loved, safe and connected. As both healthcare providers and nurses talk about individualized care, are we mindful to include the patient’s experience or are we just including the patient in technical education and with a sense of authority. Establishment of a relationship with the patient is the essence of health promotion. Therefore, considering the dimensions of wellness, it is easy to envision the importance of the health-illness continuum to forming the relationship between the patient and the healthcare team.




Greenberg, J. S. (2015). Health and wellness: A conceptual differentiation. Journal of School       Health55(10), 403-406.

Payton, A. R. (2017). Mental health, mental illness, and psychological distress: the same continuum         or distinct phenomena?. Journal of Health and Social Behavior50(2), 213-227.

Ogden, J. (2012). Health Psychology: A Textbook: A textbook. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

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