What Does Health Mean to Individuals?

Topics: Health, Psychology, Drug addiction Pages: 6 (1424 words) Published: July 27, 2013
Focus Question 1
What does health mean to individuals?

* Meanings of health

* Each individual will have a different meaning for health.

- Definitions of health

* (WHO) ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social Well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ * To reach a state of complete physical, mention and social wellbeing an individual or group must be able to identity and realise aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is, therefor seen as a resource for everyday life m bit the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities

* Dimensions of health

* Physical – refers to the functioning of the body and things that refer to this such as physical activity, good nutrition, fitness and absense of disease

Example: a person’s ability to run a certain distance.

* Social- ones ability to interact with other individuals, building better relationships, a positive self-image, improving interpersonal social skills and accepting diversity.

Example: a persons ability to approach and talk to other people

* Emotional - emotional/mental refers to a person’s capacity to cope, adjust and adapt to changes and challenges. The knowledge and acceptance of ones feelings and emotions and being able to manage stress, resilience, sense of self.

Example a person’s resilience is an example of emotional health

* Cognitive - cognitive/intellectual, refers to being able to access, process and use knowledge to make decisions, reasoning, weighing up the consequences of actions, life planning and career development.

Example: Making the decision to smoke is part of your cognitive health

- Spiritual– spiritual health involves finding purpose and meaning in life.

Example: Finding inner peace, optimism for the future.

All of these dimensions interact to make a person who they are.

For example- A person who spends all of their time at the gym, excluding time for social activities, family and friends, they may find they are stressed, experience recurring injuries, are unable to see the consequences of their actions and may not be able to relate to anyone outside the gym.

* Relative and dynamic nature of health

* Relative - individualised – tends to be defined in relation to something else.
Example - A child in Iraq may equate health to whether or not they can attend school without being in constant fear for their life, whereas a child in Australia may see health as being able to participate in sports and games at school.

* Dynamic – constantly changing – not something that we achieve and do not have to worry about anymore.
Example: If we run for everyday for 3 months we will get to a certain fitness level, but we need to continue to run to stay at the same fitness level.

* Perceptions of Health

- Perceptions of their health

People’s perceptions of health are often different as they are based around relative health, their individual circumstances. It is often also influenced by their family and friends opinions. Perceptions of health also vary at different stages in life; a child perception of their heath is very different to that of an elderly person. A persons education level is often an influencing factor on how they perceive their health, if they don’t know what is being in good health and what is being in bad health they often have a very different perception of health than others.

* Perceptions of the health of others e.g. Parents, the elderly, the homeless

People often make judgements on a person’s health relative to their age and experiences interacting with others. When we see an old or homeless person we automatically assume they are unhealthy and frail because of their age. It is the same...
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