Health beliefs and health action
In Chapter 1, Health in a social context, several distinctive ways of defining health and illness were noted. It was seen that lay definitions of health overlapped and were extended by various types of official definitions, such as those originating in medical circles or in the World Health Organisation. Helman (1986), for example, indicated that ‘folk’ beliefs about colds and fevers flourished among patients in his London general practice and that health professionals, for various reasons, adopted this explanatory mode (and thus helped to perpetuate it) when dealing with patients. It was also noted that ‘public’ definitions of health, given by people in response to researchers’ enquiries, might differ considerably from ‘private’ explanations given to family, friends and neighbours.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.