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Young Cypriots' consumer meanings of health-related behaviours

Iannou, S; (2002) Young Cypriots' consumer meanings of health-related behaviours. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This study explores the complex ways that young Cypriots talk about consumer meanings associated with smoking, eating, drinking alcohol and exercise. This approach challenges the dominance of the orthodox (mainstream) Health Promotion research logic, which conceptualises these behaviours as health directed. The research design captures the ways in which young people make sense of their health-related choices. The sample consists of 25 15 to 17 years-old living in the urban area of Nicosia. The principal features of the interviewing process were: open-ended; and one to one; to allow the respondents to talk about their everyday experiences which determine their behavioural choices. The data were analysed through the development of three categories, which aimed to reveal the consumer meanings associated with particular behaviours. These categories focus firstly, on embedded cultural traits (e.g. the quality of being 'coon, secondly, the role of these traits (e.g. used in projecting an image) and thirdly, reflections on the traits and their role in the context of their everyday lives. A central finding is that the consumer meanings of these practices amount to a vital resource through which young people play with their self- and life- style images, communicate and interact with peers. This research highlights not only the validity but also the enhanced utility of understanding health-related behaviours in ways which depart from mono-directional and judgemental approaches within health promotion studies, which concentrate on the outcome to the exclusion of process. This research demonstrates the importance of taking full account of the ways in which young people make health-related choices as consumers, why those choices are meaningful to them and how the consequences of making those choices are understood. The significance of consumer culture in young people's health-related choices is conceived not as a powerful meaning-making system which directs young people towards certain choices and excludes others, but as a phenomenon which activates young people to think about their choices in certain `consumer' ways. This is a perspective which health promotion ought to both acknowledge and incorporate.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Young Cypriots' consumer meanings of health-related behaviours
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127862
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