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Health Behaviour and Health Promotion in a Public Health Psychology: Theoretical Issues and Empirical Findings

Theoretical Issues and Empirical Findings


Thomas von Lengerke

Health psychology is frequently described as behaviour-oriented, public health as system-oriented. This study examines how political participation and health behaviour of individuals on one hand and system behaviour in terms of healthy policy on the other may represent common issues to the two fields. Theoretically it refers to social ecology and health promotion approaches such as community psychology and WHO’s Ottawa Charter. Empirically, data gathered within the EU-Biomed2-Project MAREPS in population and policymaker surveys in Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland are analysed. Besides political participation, results relate to breast cancer early detection, smoking prevention, and physical activity promotion. It is concluded that the co-production of health by policymakers and populations calls for analysis and evaluation of contextual factors for health behaviour and multilevel health promotion action within a public health psychology.
Contents: Health psychology and public health – Theories of health behaviour – Social support – Policy and environmental approaches – Citizen participation – Healthy policy – Co-production of health – Policy evaluation – Perception of national prevention and health promotion policies – Policymaker and population surveys – Comparative methodology – Statistical analysis – Contextual factors for health behaviour – Multilevel health promotion action – Public health psychology.