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Support and Sabotage: A Qualitative Study of Social Influences on Health Behaviors Among Rural Adults

Support and Sabotage: A Qualitative Study of Social Influences on Health Behaviors Among Rural... Despite growing emphasis on reducing rural health disparities, adults living in rural areas remain at increased risk of adverse health outcomes. Compared to their urban counterparts, rural Americans have higher rates of chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to engage in health‐risk behaviors such as tobacco use, poor dietary intake, and physical inactivity. Understanding the factors that impact these lifestyle choices is essential to developing programs and policies to improve rural health.Research suggests that social ties can exert a powerful influence on health by shaping health behaviors; yet evidence from rural‐specific contexts is limited. Strong social networks, community cohesion, and norms of self‐help and reciprocity are frequently cited as positive social aspects of rural life. However, in small, geographically isolated communities, entrenched social‐cultural norms can significantly restrict people's behavioral choices.Previous studies in rural populations have focused largely on environmental determinants of physical activity, highlighting facilitators, such as social support and accountability, and barriers, such as family responsibilities and discouragement from others. Several qualitative studies have also posited both negative and positive influences of social factors (eg, family support) on eating behavior, though most were conducted only among women. Compared to physical activity and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Rural Health Wiley

Support and Sabotage: A Qualitative Study of Social Influences on Health Behaviors Among Rural Adults

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References (43)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2018 National Rural Health Association
ISSN
0890-765X
eISSN
1748-0361
DOI
10.1111/jrh.12232
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Despite growing emphasis on reducing rural health disparities, adults living in rural areas remain at increased risk of adverse health outcomes. Compared to their urban counterparts, rural Americans have higher rates of chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to engage in health‐risk behaviors such as tobacco use, poor dietary intake, and physical inactivity. Understanding the factors that impact these lifestyle choices is essential to developing programs and policies to improve rural health.Research suggests that social ties can exert a powerful influence on health by shaping health behaviors; yet evidence from rural‐specific contexts is limited. Strong social networks, community cohesion, and norms of self‐help and reciprocity are frequently cited as positive social aspects of rural life. However, in small, geographically isolated communities, entrenched social‐cultural norms can significantly restrict people's behavioral choices.Previous studies in rural populations have focused largely on environmental determinants of physical activity, highlighting facilitators, such as social support and accountability, and barriers, such as family responsibilities and discouragement from others. Several qualitative studies have also posited both negative and positive influences of social factors (eg, family support) on eating behavior, though most were conducted only among women. Compared to physical activity and

Journal

The Journal of Rural HealthWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

Keywords: ; ; ;

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