The Lay Health Beliefs of Glaswegian Men

Mullen, Kenneth (1992) The Lay Health Beliefs of Glaswegian Men. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis presents a qualitative interview study of lay health beliefs. It reports the analysis, by means of grounded theory and analytic induction of interviews with 70 Glaswegian men in mid-life. Although it is a general study of lay health beliefs, particular attention is paid to attitudes towards smoking and drinking, as tobacco and alcohol related disease feature prominently in the health statistics of the city. Issues of class and religion are also considered at length as these factors are strong elements in the cultural background of Glaswegians. The early chapters detail the reasons for the choice of grounded theory and analytic induction as the most appropriate means of analysis, and give a detailed review of the relevant research literature. The findings from the literature are shown to be fragmented but various important issues are identified in lay thinking, in particular the dichotomy of control and release in people's ideas about health. The main findings of the thesis are presented in parts two and three. Part two outlines the central features of lay health beliefs in the three areas of general health, ideas about tobacco use, and ideas about alcohol. The central ideas of control and release also found expression in my respondents' accounts, and these issues are analysed in terms of their thinking about stress and the nature of relaxation. A great deal of ambivalence was discovered in their ideas about the use of tobacco and alcohol for these purposes. The similarities between lay and professional models of health are highlighted and discussed. Part three takes the analysis of the dichotomy further by considering the overarching themes of work, marital status, and moral and religious issues. It is shown that although class and religion are important influences on health beliefs they can only be fully understood if analysed in their components, in the case of class by an analysis of occupation and general elements of lifestyle including marital status, and for religion in the wider sense of general moral concerns with regard to health. As the conclusion points out, the method of analysis allowed for a more important issue to emerge from the interview data: this was the centrality of the dichotomy of control and release in the overall structure of the lay health beliefs of male Glaswegians. Although such a dichotomy has been presented in other work, the current thesis demonstrates the difficulty Glasgwegian men had in balancing both sides of the dichotomy and thus in maximising their chances of good health. These problems are traced to the heart of Scottish culture and society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Margaret Reid
Keywords: Health sciences
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-76229
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 16:16
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 16:16

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