Determinants Of Health

Topics: Health, Socioeconomic status, Medicine Pages: 48 (2283 words) Published: February 20, 2015
CQ2: What influences the health of
The determinants of health


An individual’s level of health status and quality of life are the result of many factors interacting.
These factors are referred to as determinants of health.
Some of these factors can be controlled or modifiable by
the individual, such as smoking cigarettes.
Some factors are beyond an individual’s capacity to
control, so they are termed non-modifiable, eg.
Determinants of health affect health in a cumulative
way, hence they increase according to time and intensity
of exposure.

Brainstorm a range of determinants
which have the potential to
influence one’s health status.

Individual Factors
eg knowledge and skills, attitudes,

Individual factors

Individual behaviours are the most obvious factors that
contribute to health risk or health protection.

Behaviours such as drinking alcohol or smoking, driving
carefully or eating vegetables are easily observable. The
population’s understanding of risk is widespread and the health of an individual can readily be attributed to behaviours like these.

Individual factors - knowledge

All Australians have access to knowledge. Mandatory
health education, mass media campaigns, improving
dissemination of health information by health
professionals and global access to health information via
the internet have ensured a high degree of general health
knowledge among Australian people.

Individual factors - knowledge

Individual factors - knowledge

Messages about diet, exercise, weight control, drug
use, sun safety, driver safety, screening programs,
water safety, safe sex and other health issues have
been delivered through schools and the media for
many years.
Nevertheless, there is evidence that while many of
these health messages are reaching the population,
some specific groups are not hearing or acting upon
such important health messages or are not developing
deeper knowledge about health issues that affect

Individual factors - knowledge

Having the necessary knowledge to recognise safe
health behaviours is not the same as having the
necessary skills and attitudes to consistently carry
out those behaviours.
For example, many people who know they need to
do more exercise simply do not find the time or
energy to do so.


The knowledge we have about health and the
skills we possess that enable us to act in ways to
promote better health. E.g. a high level of health
literacy allows the individual to understand and
interpret health information and use it to promote
and maintain good health.

Individual factors - skills

Many of the personal and interpersonal skills an
individual acquires are modelled by family or
taught directly or indirectly at school through
programs such as PDHPE or peer support. The
capacity to enact these skills and the style in which
they are adapted are strongly influenced by the
individual’s personality and psychological makeup.
There is evidence which indicates that the social
group has a strong influence on individual
behaviour, so the capacity to clarify personal
values and resist negative social pressures can be a
strong protective skill.

Individual factors - skills

Examples of skills include:

Communication skills
Interpersonal skills
Decision making
Problem solving
Coping strategies and stress management

Individual factors - attitudes

Attitudes have a major influence on the health behaviour
of individuals.
Some attitudes are individual such as personal attitudes to
exercise; while others are generally held across wide
sections of society, such as the general acceptance of
In either case, they influence the health behaviours of
individuals and groups.

Individual factors - attitudes

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