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Lecture 2

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Nevena Simic

Lecture 2 Health Behaviours Four Main Points in Health Psychology: 1. Focus on health promotion and maintenance 2. Prevention and treatment of illness 3. Etiology and correlates of health, illness and dysfunction 4. Analyze and improve the health care system Health promotion: An Overview - Health promotion: process enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health - Good health is a personal and collective achievement o We each have our own goals of well-being o Individual: develop good health habits early in life and have them continue through adulthood i.e. health behaviours that when practiced, become automatic o Medical Practitioner: teach people how to achieve this lifestyle and help those at risk i.e. looking at individuals at risk for developing different conditions (looking for belly fat) o Psychologist: development of interventions to help people practice healthy behaviours and change poor ones i.e. how to change habits o Community/Nation: general emphasis on good health An Introduction to Health Behaviours: Role of Behavioural Factors in Disease and Disorder - Decrease in prevalence of acute, infectious disorders (i.e. TB) o Treatment innovations and public health standards o Have allowed us to outlive infectious disease o Increase in preventable disorders (i.e. cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, lung cancer) Major causes of death in Canada All have risk factors that are preventable o Clear role of behavioural factors in disease Approx. 1/2 of all deaths in Canada are caused by modifiable behaviours (smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity) Health Behaviours? - Health behaviours are behaviours undertaken by people to enhance or maintain their health - Health habits are health-related behaviours that are firmly established and often performed automatically, without awareness o Develop in childhood and stabilize at 11 or 12 (good teaching window) i.e. wearing a seatbelt, brushing teeth, healthy diet o Develop initially because reinforced by specific positive reinforcement and is maintained by environment factors i.e. giving a reward, praised o Highly resistant to change Even after reward, the child will continue to do the action Benefits of the Successful Modification of Health Behaviours: - Reduce death due to lifestyle-related disease - Delay time of death; increasing longevity and life expectancy of population - Expand the number of years in which a person may enjoy life free from complications of chronic disease - May begin to make a dent in the more than $1 trillion that is spent yearly on health and illness Primary Prevention: - Instilling good health habits and changing poor ones is the task of PRIMARY PREVENTION - Combat risk factors for illness before an illness ever has a chance o develop - Two Tasks: 1. Get people to change problematic health behaviours Weight loss programs 2. Prevent people from developing poor health habits in the first place Smoking prevention in teenagers Most recent approach What factors influence health related behaviours? 1. Socio-economic factors o Income, education, maternal education (the higher, the better the child), demographics o Younger, more affluent, better educated people under low levels of stress with high levels of social support practice better health habits than people who do not do these things 2. Age: childhood, adolescence, later adulthood Child = immediate consequence from parents Adult = consequences of death Teen = dont think in terms on consequence 3. Gender: o Eating; F = more nutritious BUT dangerous dieting o Physical activity: M>F o Alcohol consumption: M>F 4. Ethnic: o Smoking: Aboriginal youth = 3x > Canadian average o Diabetes: Aboriginal peoples o Abdominal fat: Chinese vs. European descent Canadians Chinese: Greater risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes... 5. Values: o i.e. exercise + women in different cultures o African women are seen as beautiful when they are larger Child baring, resources and money to eat = wealthy o Other cultures value thinness 6. Personal Control: o HEALTH LOCUS OF CONTROL: perception that ones health is under personal control, is controlled by powerful others such as physicians, or is determined by external factors including chance o Personal control = better health habits 7. Social Influence: o Positive or negative effect on health i.e. group workout (+), drinking and smoking at parties (-), media (-) 8. Personal Goals: o What do we value in our daily lives? Where do we want to direct our resources? 9. Perceived Symptoms: o Smokers may control their symptoms on the basis of sensations in their throat i.e. coughing in the morning may want to make a smoker cut down 10. Access to Health Care Services: o Going to the doctor regularly 11. Place: o Living in a rural area where there is less access to health care services may make it difficult to follow through with intentions to practice preventative health behaviours 12. Cognitive Factors: o Cognitive factors, such as the belief that certain health behaviours are beneficial or the sense that one may be vulnerable to an underlying illness if one does not practice a particular health behaviour Why are health habits relatively independent of each other and unstable? 1. Different health habits are controlled by different factors (environment or personal) o i.e. smoking vs. exercise 2. Different factors may control the same health behaviour for different people o i.e. smoking = peer influence, personal choice 3. Factors controlling a health behaviour may change over the history of the behaviour (initiating factors no longer there) o i.e. smoking as teenagers, but then you grow out of the habit as you age 4. Factors controlling the health behaviour may change across a persons lifetime (peer groups) 5. Health behaviour patterns, their development course, and the factors that change them across a lifetime will vary substantially between individuals Who do we need to intervene with? - Children and Adolescents o Health habits are influenced by socialization Parents as role models Children move into adolescence and can sometimes backslide or ignore their earlier training they received from their parents o Health promotion efforts capitalize on educational opportunities to prevent your health habits from developing Teachable moment certain times are better for teaching particular health practices than others i.e. putting a seatbelt on in a car, looking both ways before crossing built into health care delivery system not confined to childhood and adolescence
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