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Biological and behavioural correlates of protective psychosocial factors in UK and cross-cultural samples

Grant, N.; (2010) Biological and behavioural correlates of protective psychosocial factors in UK and cross-cultural samples. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The overall aim of this thesis is to examine the relationship between psychosocial factors and health; the specific aims are: to investigate links between psychosocial factors; to investigate the relationship between psychosocial factors, health behaviour and biology and finally, to investigate these relationships in cross-cultural samples. The recent incorporation of positive aspects, such as happiness and increased social support, into models of health has indicated a protective link between psychosocial factors and health outcomes. Psychosocial factors may impact upon health through behavioural and biological pathways, and there may be interactions between psychosocial factors, including constructs such as psychological and social function and both behavioural and biological pathways, This thesis focuses on the association of three psychosocial constructs, positive well-being, social support and optimism, with health. The first study investigates the relationship between positive well-being and health behaviour in an international sample. The findings showed that life satisfaction was associated with increased healthy behaviours for smoking, exercise, fat intake, sun protection and fruit intake, with no relationship for alcohol consumption or fibre intake. The second study investigated the associations of positive well-being, social support and optimism, and found that social support was strongly related to positive well-being. This study also found a relationship between social support and exercise; between social support and cortisol, and an association between these and positive affect. The third study presents data from a Japanese sample. This study found that social support was related to positive well-being, although effects were different to those found in the UK study. Although effects were small and there were several null findings, overall this thesis concludes that social support and positive well-being may be a part of a protective network of wider psychosocial factors, and that effects on health are exerted by moderation of behavioural and biological pathways.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Biological and behavioural correlates of protective psychosocial factors in UK and cross-cultural samples
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > Epidemiology and Public Health

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