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New Paper by Dr Johnson on improving health & well-being

Published: 01/31/14

A new paper  on 'A socially situated approach to inform ways to improve health and wellbeing' by Christine Horrocks & Sally Johnson.


Mainstream health psychology supports neoliberal notions of health promotion in which self-management is central. The emphasis is on models that explain behaviour as individually driven and cognitively motivated, with health beliefs framed as the favoured mechanisms to target in order to bring about change to improve health. Utilising understandings exemplified in critical health psychology, we take a more socially situated approach, focusing on practicing health, the rhetoric of modernisation in UK health care and moves toward democratisation. While recognising that within these new ways of working there are opportunities for empowerment and user-led health care, there are other implications. How these changes link to simplistic cognitive behavioural ideologies of health promotion and rational decision-making is explored. Utilising two different empirical studies, this article highlights how self-management and expected compliance with governmental authority in relation to health practices position not only communities that experience multiple disadvantage but also more seemingly privileged social actors. The article presents a challenge to self-management and informed choice, in which the importance of navigational networks is evident. Because health care can become remote and inaccessible to certain sections of the community, yet pervasive and deterministic for others, we need multiple levels of analysis and different forms of action.

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