How does socio economic position link to health behaviour? Sociological pathways and perspectives for health promotion

Simone Weyers, Nico Dragano, Matthias Richter, Hans Bosma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Socio economic inequalities in adult health behaviour are consistently observed. Despite a well-documented pattern, social determinants of variations in health behaviour have not been sufficiently clarified. This article therefore presents sociological pathways to explain the existing inequalities in health behaviour. At a micro level, control beliefs have been part of several behavioural theories. We suggest that these beliefs might bridge the gap between sociology and psychology by emphasising their roots in fundamental socio-economic environments. At a meso level, social networks and support have not been explicitly considered as behavioural determinants. This contribution states that these social factors influence health behaviour while being unequally distributed across society. At a macro level, characteristics of the neighbourhood environment influence health behaviour of its residents above and beyond their individual background. Providing further opportunity for policy makers, it is shown that peer and school context equalise inequalities in risky behaviour in adolescence. As a conclusion, factors such as control expectations, social networks, neighbourhood characteristics, and school context should be included as strategies to improve health behaviour in socially disadvantaged people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • behaviour
  • control
  • inequalities
  • neighbourhood
  • school
  • social networks

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How does socio economic position link to health behaviour? Sociological pathways and perspectives for health promotion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this