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Journal Article

Conceptual and Empirical Dimensions of Health Behavior

James L. Steele and William H. McBroom
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1972), pp. 382-392
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136830
Page Count: 11
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Conceptual and Empirical Dimensions of Health Behavior
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Abstract

It has been said that health behavior of individuals is unidimensional; indeed, that there is a "health role" in response to which individuals engage in actions for the express purpose of preventing illness. In a random sample survey of individuals from nearly one-thousand households, health behavior was found to be multidimensional and highly consistent forms of health behavior were limited to a very small proportion of respondents. Analysis of health behavior indicators revealed that they are not mutually reinforcing and that respondent's actions are not consistent with a focus on health as a general condition to be achieved through prescribed preventive action. Evidence suggests that one indicator, health insurance, is a different kind of health behavior than those usually associated with the rational medical model and that health behavior varies with the criteria used. The data indicate that health behavior shows a low positive association with socioeconomic status, but this relationship changes with distance from respondent's usual source of medical care, and recency of illness episodes.

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