Health Promotion Theories

Topics: Health promotion, Public health, Behavior Pages: 64 (17122 words) Published: April 11, 2015
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C h a p t e r

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Health Promotion Theories
Bonnie Raingruber

Objectives
At the conclusion of this chapter, the student will be able to: ●● Compare and contrast nursing and non-nursing health promotion theories. ●● Examine health promotion theories for consistency with accepted health promotion priorities and values. ●● Articulate how health promotion theories move the profession forward. ●● Discuss strengths and limitations associated with each health promotion theory or model.

●● Describe the difference between a model and a theory. ●● Identify theoretical assumptions and concepts within nursing and non-nursing theories.
●● Develop his or her own health promotion model.

Why Should Health Promotion Be
Theory-Based?
A variety of authors have commented that health promotion programs typically lack a theoretical foundation or are based on a conceptual model that does not conform to the current values and norms of health promotion practice (Bauer et al., 2003; King, 1994; Stokols, 1996; Whitehead, 2004). Commonly, environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political influences are given scant or no attention within health promotion theories. These factors may well be some of the main reasons a health promotion program that has its design based on a particular theory is not as effective as the author hoped it would be.

Whitehead (2001a) commented that the reliance on health education theories and frameworks may actually pose a barrier to progress in the arena of health promotion.

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Chapter 3

Health Promotion Theories

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He emphasized that if the confusion persists between health education and health promotion theories and models, it will be increasingly difficult for nurses to identify when they are implementing health promotion activities and programs. Whitehead (2006) suggested that without a clear theoretical basis, it would not be possible to move forward or ensure that the health promotion components of nursing practice are recognizable. As we have seen, there has been a shift from individually focused health education to community and environmentally-based health promotion. There has also been a shift from illness-focused priorities, such as disease prevention and health protection, to a focus on complete physical, emotional, and social well-being. We will see if these new priorities show up in the theories and models that are currently providing guidance to practice, research, and education in the health promotion field. Given the complexity of health promotion practice, multilevel, comprehensive interventions are needed to develop effective programs. It is vital to consider psychological, organizational, cultural, community-level, political, and policy-driven factors that influence health. Targeting one single pattern of unhealthy behavior such as smoking will not be effective if the person also drinks to excess, consumes large amounts of saturated fat, has an irregular sleep pattern, performs a stressful job, and works in an area that has poor air quality. Interventions that target unhealthy lifestyles by simultaneously focusing on multiple factors are more likely to be effective. Theories are needed to provide support for multilevel interventions that produce reliable outcomes. As we will see, not all existing health promotion theories support multilevel interventions. Theories provide a roadmap and a step-by-step summary of what factors to consider when designing, implementing, and evaluating a health promotion program. It is vital to have a theoretical understanding of why people behave the way they do if nurses are to help a person, a family, a group, or a community improve their health status. Theories provide relevant clues as to why people and communities make health-related choices and offer a systematic...
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