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Veronika Mátó Szarvasné And Zsuzsanna Benkő: A compearative study of college students’ understanding of health

Concepts of health in society have been long subjects of research attention. Health-related ideas are largely defined by the social and cultural status of individuals. Among the several definitions of health, the WHO (1946) definition is still widely held as a consensual understanding among researchers, „Health is not the lack of illnesses but the state of physical, mental and social well-being”. 20th century thinking highlighted positive thinking, well-being, and self-realization; that is, health can be developed and promoted. Health promotion is the collective concept of all non-therapy health-improving methods. The concept of prevention is used in medical sciences and related fields. Prevention and health promotion should be considered as complementary measures. The research presented focused on the following questions: Do students applying for a health education teacher degree programme have a more complex health-view than students of other majors? How accurate or incomplete is the health concept of college students? The sample (N=402) was comprised of health education teacher trainees (52.24%) leasure studies students (41.79%), and lower-primary teacher trainees (5.97%) at the University of Szeged, Faculty of Juhász Gyula Teachers’ Training College. 15.17% of the sample were male, 84,83% female. Data were collected with the survey method. The instrument covered the concept of health as affecting the personal life and actions of the participants. Eight categories were defined during the analysis (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, environmental, life-style, illness-centred, prevention, professional health promotion). The results confirmed that health education teacher trainees understand the concept of health in a more diversified and health-centred way. The importance of prevention, health education and health promotion are present in their health view. Furtermore, the results revealed that there are mistakes and misinterpretations in the health-view of college students. While the health view of health education teacher trainees is further shaped and enriched in the course of their studies, there is still a need for promoting the health-consciousness of students in higher education.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 106. Number 2. 107-127. (2006)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Szarvasné Mátó Veronika és dr. habil Benkő Zsuzsanna, Szegedi Tudományegyetem, JGYPK Alkalmazott Egészségtudományi Tanszék, H–6725 Szeged, Boldogasszony sgt. 6.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia