Discuss how psychological and sociological concepts and theories can inform health promotion in nursing practice.

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Victoria Bradley.

This assignment will discuss how the psychological and sociological concepts and theories can inform health promotion and their application in nursing practice.

Taylor and field, 2007 (page 3) suggest that sociology is the ‘study of companionship or social relations’, while Walker et al, (2007) states that psychology is the study of human behaviour, thought process and emotion. As a nurse, social relations and how we deal with different behaviours and emotions, is vital to provide a patient centred care approach as it gives us an understanding of ourselves and our networks with other people, therefore when we think about health promotion it would be valuable to contemplate sociology alongside psychology, as it states in Walker et al (2007), individuals who we care for come from a range of social circumstances which effect their health. Health can be viewed in different angles, biological; as the absence of disease, behavioural; the product of making healthy lifestyle choices and socio-environmental; a product of social, economic and environmental factors that offer encouragement and obstacles to the health of individuals and communities (Wills 2007 in Wills 2007). As the World Health Organisation cited in Ewles and Simnett (2003 page 6), states that, ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ The WHO's 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (cited in Naidoo and Wills 2009), broadened that health is not just a state, but also a supply for normal life, not the objective of living. Health is an optimistic concept highlighting social and personal properties, as well as physical abilities. Therefore these statements of health can be viewed differently in the different views of health and therefore health promotion as a holistic view is preventing disease, education, communication of health messages, giving information and facilitating self-help, and tackling issues to make healthier choices easier (Wills 2007 in Wills 2007). It is the role of the nurse and other healthcare professionals in the multi-disciplinary team to promote health and help people on an individual level to improve their health. (Walker et al 2007).

There are many models and theories that support the practice of health promotion within nursing practice. The use of these models should enable people to increase their control over things that determine and thereby improve their health.  (Wills 2007 in Wills 2007)

 The focus on this discussion will be the public health model; Beattie’s model (1991). This will be applied to early interventions and the prevention of alcohol misuse among adolescents.

Alcohol is the most commonly used and move actively available, psychoactive substance among adolescents aged 12-16years (Wright 1999). UK figures among 15 and 16 year olds are among the highest in Europe and the percentage of 11-15year olds who drink at least once a week has risen from 17 to 20 per cent. By the age of 16 nearly all adolescents (94%) have tried an alcoholic drink, and 47% of these adolescents have drunk alcohol at least forty times (Wright 1999). From the age of twelve those who have tried an alcoholic drink outnumber those who have not (Haydock, 1998). The average age for the first taste of alcohol for a boy is 8 years 6 months and 9 years 2 months for a girl (Black 1994 cited in Haydock 1998). In the framework of the government health policy our healthy nation Department of Health, 2002, (cited in Rassool and Winnington 2003), young people are an important target group in prevention, therefore healthy attitudes early enough may reduce the risk of alcohol misuse.

The Beattie’s model has offered structural analysis in the range of approaches since 1991. Beattie 1991(cited in Sykes 2007 in Wills 2007) suggests there are four principles to health promotion. The model is divided into two dimensions top and bottom, with each dimension having two paradigms. Each of these four paradigms provides a description of the different approaches to health promotion. The two paradigms at the top of the model describe the top-down approach. This approach is seen to be authoritarian approach, which includes health percussion and legislation action. The top-down approach aims to inform the nurse about risks and unhealthy behaviour and possibly impose change to a national level. (Simnett and Ewles 2003) and (Sykes in Wills 2007)

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The two paradigms at the bottom describe the bottom-up approach with personal counselling and community development.  The aim of the bottom-up approach is to empower individual and communities to make healthier choices. (Sykes 2007 in Wills 2007).

The first of the authoritarian approaches is health persuasion and these activities involve an expert let top-down approach. The primary objective of this approach is to convince an individual to change their behaviour and therefore adapt a healthier lifestyle. This intervention on giving the individual information on their behaviour for example trying to educate a young person on the misuse of alcohol ...

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