Adolescent health: health locus of control, gender differences, beliefs, and behaviours
LccRJ 47.53 R44 1995
LcshHealth behavior in adolescence
Teenagers - Health and hygiene
Locus of control
Sex differences (Psychology) in adolescence
Health education (Secondary)
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AbstractThis study was an investigation of three research questions. First, how do two school populations compare in the areas of Health Locus of Control (HLOC), physical and mental health status, and beliefs and behaviours pertaining to coping, social support, nutrition and exercise? Second, how do adolescents of different HLOCs, genders, and grades compare in terms of physical and mental health status, and their use of coping strategies, social support, healthy foods, and exercise. Third, what is the relationship between beliefs and behaviours pertaining to coping, social support, nutrition, and exercise? A total of 480 students, aged 14-19, participated in this study. A new category of HLOC was created to accommodate students who scored high on both the Internal and External scales, or low on both scales. The new category was named "Contextual" because it was hypothesized that these people interact with their current environments to determine their HLOC. People with an Internal HLOC expect that their health is due to their own actions whereas people with an External HLOC expect their health to be due to chance, or other people. With regard to the first research question, no significant differences were found between the two school populations in the areas of HLOC, physical and mental health status, and beliefs and behaviours about coping, social support, nutrition and exercise. Therefore, data from both schools were combined for further analyses. Results from analyses in response to the second research question were as follows. It was found that adolescents with Internal and Contextual HLOCs rated themselves as physically healthier, and reported using coping strategies, social support, healthy food, and exercise more frequently than Externals. Internals' selfassessed mental health statuses were also higher than Externals, and Contextuals and Externals did not differ significantly from each other. Contextuals and Internals did not differ in the areas of self-reported physical health status, and the regularity with which they ate healthy food and exercised. However, Internals rated themselves as mentally healthier, and reported using coping strategies, and social support more often than Contextuals did. Gender differences were also found. Males rated themselves as physically and mentally healthier than females, but females reported using coping strategies and social support more than males did. Adolescents in grades 10, 11, and 12 did not differ from each other on the variables investigated. Results for the third research question were that positive correlations were found between beliefs and behaviours in the use of coping strategies, social support, food and exercise. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for Comprehensive School Health Programs.
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