Focusing health promotion for adolescents : perceptions of physicians versus educators

Date

1986

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Abstract

Six hundred eighty-four members of the American School Health Association were surveyed by mail. The study used multidimensional scaling techniques (Schiffman, Reynolds & Young, 1981) to investigate the dimensions which underlie the perceptions of various health issues. The health issues were also rated on their importance for inclusion in health promotion programs for adolescents. Semantic scales were used to assess the meaning of each health issue in terms of the severity of its consequences, the susceptibility of adolescents to the issue, and the degree to which the source of the issue was behavioral or physiological. It was hypothesized that the perceptual dimensions which underlie the importance ratings of the issues would be severity and susceptibility, two components of the health belief model (Rosenstock, 1974b). Results confirmed severity as an underlying perceptual dimension upon which health issues were selected for inclusion in health promotion programs. The data did not support susceptibility as an underlying dimension of the selection process. The results of the present study were compared to a previous study (Preston, 1985) in which 451 members of the Society for Adolescent Medicine were surveyed by mail. It was hypothesized that the two groups would differ in both the perceptual dimensions and the ratings of the health issues as important for inclusion. This hypothesis was not supported for the perceptual dimensions. Differences in important ratings were evident for several behavioral health issues and for nutrition. Implications of the findings for influencing the selection of content issues for health promotion programs are discussed.

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Keywords

Youth, Health and hygiene

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