Lay and professional perspectives of the causes of health: A comparative network approach

Steven J. Muncer1, Shirley Taylor2, Jonathan Ling2
1University of Durham, United Kingdom
2University of Teesside, United Kingdom
Cite this article:  Muncer, S., Taylor, S., & Ling, J. (2001). Lay and professional perspectives of the causes of health: A comparative network approach. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29, 365-374.

Volume 29 Issue 4 | e1097 | Published: June 2001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2001.29.4.365

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Lay and professional interpretations of the structure of causal factors previously demonstrated to be influencing health were examined through network analysis. Fifty-three first level registered nurses and 63 social science students were asked to complete network adjacency grids for factors that affect health. There is considerable agreement between the lay and professional view – with stress, lifestyle, health knowledge, work, and home environment forming a nexus of causes, along with physical constitution and exposure to illness, which have direct links to health. The impacts of both a belief in alternative medicine and religiosity, which have been suggested to influence beliefs about health, were also investigated. Religiosity had no major effect on the model. Believers in alternative medicine rated causal links involving stress higher, but showed no difference in their ratings of the importance of medical treatment. The results are compared and contrasted with previous work which used factor analysis.


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