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Can J Public Health. 2002 Jul-Aug;93(4):297-302.

Public support for poverty-related policies.

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Faculty of Nursing, 5-134A, Clinical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G3.



This research examined how public perceptions of the relationship between poverty and health predict support for poverty-related policies.


A random sample of 1,203 Albertans were interviewed by telephone to determine their perceptions of the relationship between poverty and health (myth, drift, behavioural, structural), and their support for government spending in six poverty-related policy areas: nutrition programs, housing, child care, increased welfare allowance, wage subsidies, and recreation programs.


The greatest support was for child care programs, with the least support for increased welfare allowance. The degree of support for all policies except wage subsidies and recreation programs differed by the explanation chosen of the relationship between poverty and health. Those who chose a structural explanation were more likely to support government spending than those who chose a behavioural explanation.


Beliefs about the relationship between poverty and health influence support for policies. Public health professionals have a role in increasing public awareness of the structural factors that influence health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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