Use the following summary lecture notes to augment your
learning experience. The lecture notes by themselves are not sufficient to
complete the learning objectives or score well on the examinations. You should
spend time on the web, reading the recommended textbook, etc. in order to
enhance your knowledge.
Key Terms (click to go to):
locus of control
health behavior gap
lifestyle inventory analysis
Lesson 1: Introduction to Wellness
is a contemporary subject. At the
beginning of the 20th-century, morbidity and mortality were largely determined
by factors beyond the control of the individual.
Infectious and communicable diseases were responsible for higher infant
mortality rates and shorter life spans than those of today.
It is apparent that, at the turn of the 21st century, lifestyle practices
are now responsible for most disability and early death in the United States.
These lifestyle related diseases and accidents are largely under individual
control. It is important to
understand, however, that lifestyle
related diseases are communicable in the sense that the habits of those
around us tend to influence our habits. This has resulted in a national
health-care crisis beyond control of traditional medicine and government
resources. For these reasons, knowledgeable individuals from both the medical
and academic professions are involved in encouraging individuals to practice
wellness. Wellness courses are now included in university core curriculums,
community health education programs, and clinical patient education. The
following items are summaries of the most important concepts in lesson 1.
involves decreasing a person's risk for developing illnesses and involvement in
factors are characteristics and lifestyle
practices which increase the likelihood that a person will develop an illness or
be involved in an accident.
defining wellness, it is important to understand that wellness involves
more than simply freedom from disease and disability. Although freedom from
disease and disability is certainly desirable, the goal of wellness is to
maximize personal potential with respect to productivity, quality of life, and
self-actualization. These goals also contribute to the welfare of the community
involves the balancing of several important dimensions:
spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, and physical.
If an individual neglects even one of these important dimensions they
cannot experience optimal wellness. Each of these dimensions of wellness will be
addressed in greater detail throughout this course. A short summary of each
far is wellness is concerned, spirituality is highly individual and not
necessarily connected to a religious institution. Belief in a higher power,
greater force or larger purpose in life enables an individual to accept and
overcome difficulties, find meaning, develop relationships, act morally and
ethically, and find fulfillment in life.
ability to interact with others and develop special relationships are important
components of the social dimension of wellness. Having respect and
tolerance for those with different opinions and beliefs is necessary for
personal and community well being.
emotional dimension of wellness is related to the ability to
understand, control, and express emotions and manage stress.
ability to learn and use information in order to solve problems and grow intellectually
is a necessary dimension of wellness. Learning does not necessarily
involve the pursuit of academic degrees and can result from occupational,
recreational, and hobby pursuits.
is difficult for a person to pursue wellness while experiencing physical
disability or illness. The physical
dimension of wellness requires respect for ones physical body and
attention to a wide variety of lifestyle habits which must be consistently
practiced each day. A person’s physical health is usually the dimension that
first comes to mind when considering health and wellness.
hallmark of wellness is the assumption of responsibility by the individual for
his or her own health. Indeed,
practicing wellness is impossible without self-responsibility. It is
estimated that altogether, 84% of the factors affecting health or within the
control of the individual, with at least 53% of the factors influencing quality
of life determined by the lifestyle of the individual,
21% by the environment, 16% by genetics, and 10% by the health-care
system. It is important to note that a person cannot experience complete freedom
from risk in life. Even if a person
is genetically susceptible to a specific disease, positive lifestyle habits may
prevent or lesson the impact of the disease and increase the odds that accidents
will not occur.
authorities have identified many positive
lifestyle practices. Here
are a few that have been shown to decrease a person's risk for diseases and
accidents and improve quality of life: Do not smoke, wear a seatbelt, stay
physically active, eat a variety of foods and in moderation, get a restful
night's sleep, control stress and make time to relax, if you must drink
alcohol-drink only in moderation and never drink and drive, cultivate meaningful
relationships, learn something useful or interesting each day, and practice
an attitude of respect, responsibility and resourcefulness is necessary
in order to practice wellness and successfully live life. It is impossible for
children to grow into a mature adulthood without developing these attitudes.
Many problems found in adulthood probably result from never fully
adopting these attitudes. A healthy community is one in which families have a
sense of respect for themselves and those around them, an attitude of self and
community responsibility, and are resourceful enough to handle difficulties and
benefits of living a wellness lifestyle far outweigh the discipline
required to practice positive health habits.
Some of the more salient benefits include: decrease in risk of developing
or dying from chronic diseases and accidents, increase in enjoyment and quality
of life, ability to handle difficulties and setbacks, increase in physical
fitness and overall energy level, decrease in recovery time after injury or
illness, improvement in relationships with others, improvement in self image,
self-confidence and mental outlook, increase in ability to cope with stress and
resist depression, attainment of appropriate body weight and improved
appearance, and an improvement and overall body organ system function.
following model of behavior is helpful in
explaining the adoption of and adherence to positive lifestyle habits. Attitude
determines intention, which determin behavior.
Attitudes are made up of beliefs and values.
A person's true beliefs and values determine their attitude toward a
particular behavior, and whether they intended to adopt that behavior.
person's "Locus of Control"
influences their attitude toward a behavior.
A person with an "internal" locus of control believes
that their health is largely influenced by their own behavior.
A person with an "external" locus of control believes
that their health is determined by factors beyond their control.
A person with an internal locus of control is more likely to be
successful at practicing wellness because wellness involves a sense of
refers to a person's belief in their ability to accomplish a task or behavior
and plays a large role in whether a person ultimately behaves a certain way. A person with a strong sense of self-efficacy is
likely to follow through with their attitudes and intentions to perform a
certain behavior. A person with a weak
sense of self-efficacy is unlikely to engage in a behavior even though they
find it desirable. Obviously, a
person with a strong sense of self-efficacy is more likely to be successful and
adopting a wellness lifestyle.
ultimately impacts a person's choice of behavior, the effort they will expand in
the behavior, how long they will persist at the behavior, and how they will
react to the threat of failure in the behavior. A person defines their ability
to succeed (self-efficacy) in the following ways: by actually performing or
accomplishing the task, by seeing others perform or accomplish the task, through
verbal persuasion, and through emotionally charged experiences which affect
desire to accomplish the task.
is important to note that although locus of control helps establish an attitude,
self-efficacy establishes behavior. Simply
said, it is not enough to want to behave to certain way, the person must feel
capable of accomplishing the behavior.
all lifestyle habits require "proactive," rather than
"reactive" behavior. Proactive
behavior requires self-discipline and is practiced before an event
behavior involves little self-discipline and requires immediate
action after an event occurs. Wellness
habits are often difficult to adhere to because they require proactive behavior,
which is more difficult for most humans then reactive behavior.
human behavior is motivated by psychological
need rather than reasoned thought.
A person must, therefore, pay attention to psychological factors when
attempting to explain behavior and motivate themselves.
"health behavior gap" exists
when a person does not act according to their attitudes and beliefs.
Motivation plays a major role when attempting to turn knowledge
into action. The previously
mentioned model of behavior is helpful in explaining motivation.
People are motivated by what they value.
behaviors are learned responses and can,
therefore, be changed. This is as true for negative health behaviors as for
positive health behaviors. Early in life the family establishes behavior and
later in life social forces play a major role in determining behavior. The main
purpose of educating people about wellness is to teach and promote positive
wellness should not normally involve professional help or great expense.
The four steps in a lifestyle-change
program are: assessing behavior,
setting specific and realistic goals, formulating intervention strategies, and
often involves the use of a “lifestyle inventory analysis”
status and behavior” instrument. This type of questionnaire is valuable in
identifying those health habits most detrimental to health (and worthy of
change) and in educating an individual about the various factors affecting
long and short-term goals should be set with special consideration of
“lifetime” aspect of wellness.
may include behavioral contracts, stimulus control, positive and negative
reinforcement, support groups, and behavior substitution.
follow-up strategy is important in order to evaluate progress and,
ultimately, improve lifestyle practices.