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Title: A social ecological perspective on health behaviours
Author: Desousa, Carol
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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The social ecology model provides a heuristic tool for studying health behavioural change. This thesis focuses on the chronosystem and the influence of changes in macro-level factors on health behaviours. Bourdieu's theory of habitus and diffusion theory are also utilised to understand the processes by which macrosystem changes influence health behaviours. The first study explores intra-generational social mobility and smoking behaviours. The second study investigates the influence of a national health-related initiative to increase leisure-time physical activity. The final study examines smoking trajectories before and after the comprehensive English smoking ban, with comparative analyses for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Previous research is sparse. Among men, mobility to a more advantaged socio-economic class is associated with a lower prevalence of smoking. A cross-sectional evaluation of a similar Welsh health initiative found little independent positive effects on health behaviours. Decreases in smoking behaviours have been found to occur just before or after a smoking ban. In this thesis, intra-generational mobility attenuated the well-known inverse social gradient in smoking. Mobility to a less advantaged socio-economic class was associated with a greater risk of remaining a smoker for men and women. Rates of decrease in smoking over time were not differentiated by socio-economic class. Rates of participation in leisure-time physical activity did not increase significantly after the national health-related initiative. Smoking behaviours decreased significantly just after the English smoking ban. However, pre- and post-ban rates of decrease III smoking behaviours were similar. Comparative analyses were inconclusive. Temporal macro system changes have the potential to influence cultural norms and social meanings. These changes can lead to the. diffusion of healthier lifestyle behaviours and subsequent socialisation resulting in improved health behaviours. Interventions that address factors within the social context of an individual's environment have a complementary role to play alongside individual-level interventions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available