What is health? : What is health? Fiona Marshall Aims : Aims Explore the notion of health from a variety of perspectives including professional and lay viewpoints related to age, gender, social class and culture.
Appreciate that there are a range of views about the nature of health.
Introduce the concept of “models” of health.
Highlight the Evans and Stoddart model to set the scene for future lectures. Personal health beliefs : Personal health beliefs Think about the last time you experienced yourself as “healthy”.
Jot down a few phrases that describe the feeling, and the context. Who is the healthiest? : Who is the healthiest? Defining health : Defining health Official or professional definitions
Popular or lay definitions. Negative, Professional Definitions : Negative, Professional Definitions So called bio-medical or scientific view of health.
Health as the absence of disease.
Health as the absence of illness. Definitions : Definitions Disease – presence of pathology or abnormality in a body part
Illness – feelings of anxiety, pain or distress usually associated with a disease Positive/Holistic, Professional Definitions : Positive/Holistic, Professional Definitions World Health Organisation, 1947
“A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being rather than solely as absence of disease” Positive/Holistic, Professional Definitions : Positive/Holistic, Professional Definitions David Seedhouse set out 5 major characteristics or qualities which define positive ideas about health. Seedhouse (2001). Professional Definitions Positive/holistic views : Professional Definitions Positive/holistic views Health as an ideal state
Health as physical and mental fitness
Health as a commodity
Health as personal strength or ability
Health as the basis for personal potential. Lay beliefs - being healthy / being ill : Lay beliefs - being healthy / being ill 9000 individuals questioned:-
Absence of disease.
Blaxter (1995) Health beliefs change throughout the life-course : Health beliefs change throughout the life-course Lay health beliefs - Age : Lay health beliefs - Age Older people concentrated on functional ability
Younger people tended to speak of health in terms of physical strength and fitness
Blaxter (1995) Lay health beliefs - social class. : Lay health beliefs - social class. People living in difficult economic and social circumstances regard health as functional – the ability to be productive, to cope and take care of others. Blaxter & Paterson (1982)
Women of higher social class or with higher educational qualifications have a more multidimensional view of health. Blaxter (1995) Lay health beliefs - gender. : Lay health beliefs - gender. Men and women appear to think about health differently
Women may find the concept of health more interesting
Women include a social aspect to health.
Blaxter (1995) Cultural Differences : Cultural Differences White and African-Caribbean patients attached different meanings to “High blood pressure”
regarded it as “normal” and not as an increased risk of stroke/heart attack
were less likely to take their medication
Naidoo & Wills 2001 “Health” is contentious : “Health” is contentious Are the following people healthy?
“Petit” model The causes or determinants of health : The causes or determinants of health So far we have discussed what we mean by “health”
Now I want you to think about what
may cause some people to be healthy while others are not Models of health : Models of health From our discussion it appears that there are many factors that determine why some people will remain healthy while others do not.
We could use a model to pull together these theories - to help us to understand how the so called determinants of health are interrelated.
A model of health enables us to think about or present in a systematic way, the various complex, often interrelated ideas about the causes of health. Evans & Stoddart’s Model of Health Determinants : Evans & Stoddart’s Model of Health Determinants Main learning points : Main learning points Health is conceived differently depending on whether you are a professional or not, where you live, what circumstances you find yourself living in, how old you are and whether you are a man or a woman.
There are a variety of “models” of health which have sprung from social scientists and others attempting to define what health is and what causes health and ill health. References : References Aggelton, P. 1990. Health, Routledge, London.
Seedhouse, D. 2001. Health the Foundations of Achievement. John Wiley, Chichester.
Blaxter, M. 1995. What is health? In: Davey, B. Gray, A. and Seale, C. (Eds) Health and disease: A reader. Open University Press, Buckingham.
Blaxter, M. & Paterson, E. 1982. Mothers and Daughters. Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, London.
Naidoo, J. & Wills, J. 2001 (p147). Health Studies. Palgrave, Basingstoke.
Evans, R et. al. 1994. Why are some people healthy and others not? Aldine De Gruyter, New York.