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Dimensions of Health - Essay Example

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Dimensions of Health

Even with ongoing debate for and against the definition proposed by WHO, it is clear from this definition that health is an entity with multiple dimensions. This definition envisages three specific dimensions, the physical, mental, and social. These dimensions appear separate, but in reality, they are dynamic and interact with each other. Human behaviour is a common theme in human health. Human behaviour is the resultant of physical and mental factors interacting in complicated ways. The broad categories of factors that may influence individual health behaviour include knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, skills, finance, time, and many others. It is important to give serious considerations to the social context, a particular behaviour occurs. Health behaviour refers to those activities that an individual undertakes to avoid disease. These behaviours are dependent on the environmental contexts as well as on emotions and feelings. Most importantly, health behaviour depends on the health needs (Hawks et al., 2008, 319-324).
Attitudes are acquired characteristics of an individual that are considered to be more or less permanent ways of behaving. An attitude contains three components, a cognitive or knowledge element, an affective or feeling element, and a tendency to action. Thus attitude can be defined as a relatively enduring organization of beliefs around an object, subject, or concept that predisposes to a response in a preferential manner. Most human beings learn attitudes from social interactions, and once they are formed, it is very difficult to change. In the recent time, attitudes are being recognized as very important determinants of health behaviours, and consequently, psychologists and health care professionals are increasingly dwelling on attitude surveys and attitude measurements, since it is becoming clear that healthy attitudes gravitate from parents, teachers, religious leaders, and elders (Nielsen et al., 2004, 28-32).
The beliefs and attributions that people hold can influence their health. This can influence health by affecting their behaviour such as food habits and by a direct influence on the physiological system. Although these two modes are not mutually exclusive for the patient, and there is another set of health beliefs and attributions from the health professionals that can affect the health of individuals. These beliefs may influence health decisions and also influence patients' cognitions. Healthcare professionals may influence the beliefs and attributions, hence behaviour of patients by giving them information and through expression of their beliefs about the patient's health and the best way to overcome a particular health problem. Hence health professionals' beliefs about a disease and its management are large factors in influencing the values of the patients and their approaches to the management of illness (O'hea et al., 2005, 705-717).
Values are traits such as honesty, loyalty, intelligence, or talent. This is a set of instrumental values. The other conceptions of values as traits include instrumental and expressive tendencies. Values have also been defined as need strengths including achievement, affiliation, and dominance. The contemporary values point towards a person's value-directed preference for quality rather than quantity of life. The values ascertain the strength of ...Show more

Summary

Introduction: Health is officially defined by World Health Organization in 1948 in the preamble to its constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely absence of disease or infirmity. This is a definition that has been criticized as being too broad…
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