Behavioral & Cultural Issues

The Social Ecology of Health ModelThe social ecology of health model provides a strong framework for comprehending the impact culture and behavior has on health. This Discussion explores the model with respect to the Healthy People assigned focus area assigned to you during the In the News assignment.To prepare for this Discussion:· Review the social ecology of health model by completing the following interactive exercise. It will allow you to deepen your understanding of the model by focusing on each element in the model’s hierarchy.· Reflect on the five hierarchical levels of influence associated with the social ecology of health model (intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community, and society).· Consider the upstream (primary and secondary prevention) and downstream (tertiary prevention) approaches to the model with your assigned Healthy People assigned focus area. (See the In the News assignment for more information about the assignment of topic areas.)By Day 4, post a comprehensive response to the following about your Healthy People assigned focus area · How might you react to being diagnosed with the disease/condition associated with your Healthy People assigned focus area? What are some of the cultural biases to being diagnosed with this disease?· Describe one primary and one secondary method of preventing the health problem (i.e., upstream methods). Which would you most likely choose?· Describe two biomedical methods (tertiary prevention) of dealing with the health problem (i.e., downstream methods).· In your own words, explain how the social ecology of health model could be used to address this health issue. Give at least one example applying terms from the model.· Be sure to cite your supporting documentation appropriately in correct APA format. 


  • Course Text: Coreil, J. (Ed.). (2010). Social and behavioral foundations of public health (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    • Chapter 1, “Why Study Social and Behavioral Factors in Public Health?”

The first chapter in the text describes the importance of studying culture and behavior. It provides a historical perspective of the field of behavioral and social sciences and sets the stage for the course with its overarching framework, the social ecology of health model. This chapter also explores the levels of social influence on health issues.

  • Chapter 2, “Historical Perspectives on Population and Disease”

This chapter delves deeper into the history of health, from the perspectives of disease and the cultural evolution. It also touches upon the health problems that generally occur at different stages of life.

  • Chapter 5, “Health and Illness Behavior”

Chapter 5 reviews the levels of prevention covered in the first course in the program (primary, secondary, and tertiary) and lays the groundwork for the course by reviewing the relationship between health and illness behavior.

  • Chapter 7, “Social Reactions to Disease” (pp. 134–136)

    In this section of Chapter 7, you will study the concepts of medicalization and hygienization with respect to disease behavior.

  • Chapter 8, “Comparative Health Cultures” (pp. 145–154)

The authors introduce the concepts of ethnomedicine as well as the various “sectors” of medicine in this section of Chapter 8. The authors also explore cultural models of illness.

  • Article: Healthy People. (2010). Healthy People 2020: The Road Ahead! Retrieved from

You will become familiar with the Healthy People 2020 Campaign during this course. Healthy People 2020 is a national effort designed to solve unequal and unjust health treatment of populations. This website will be used for the In the News assignment as well as many other assignments in the course.

  • Article: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2009). Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America. Retrieved from article presents several carefully coined recommendations to build healthier society. The recommendations are based on research and statistics on the health status of adults and children.

Optional ResourcesMedia

  • Documentary: Moore, M. (Director). (2007). Sicko [Motion picture]. United States: Dog Eat Dog Films.

You may want to rent Sicko. It provides a fascinating and controversial view of the health care system in the United States today. The documentary also compares the American health care system with other nations, illustrating the differences in reactions to disease based on the health care system of other countries.


  • Course Text: Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health
  • Chapter 10, “Reproductive Health”
  • Chapter 11, “Adolescent Health”
  • Chapter 12, “Public Health and Aging”
  • Article: Lytle, L. A., & Fulkerson, J. A. (2002). Assessing the dietary environment: Examples from school-based nutrition interventions. Public Health Nutrition, 5(6a), 893–899.
  • Article: National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. (2010). Science news. Retrieved from
  • Article: World Health Organization. (2008). The World Health Report 2008: Primary health care now more than ever. Retrieved from


  • National Institutes of Health
  • World Health Organization

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