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J Health Soc Behav. 2005 Mar;46(1):51-67.

Health lifestyle theory and the convergence of agency and structure.

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Center for Social Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.


This article utilizes the agency-structure debate as a framework for constructing a health lifestyle theory. No such theory currently exists, yet the need for one is underscored by the fact that many daily lifestyle practices involve considerations of health outcomes. An individualist paradigm has influenced concepts of health lifestyles in several disciplines, but this approach neglects the structural dimensions of such lifestyles and has limited applicability to the empirical world. The direction of this article is to present a theory of health lifestyles that includes considerations of both agency and structure, with an emphasis upon restoring structure to its appropriate position. The article begins by defining agency and structure, followed by presentation of a health lifestyle model and the theoretical and empirical studies that support it.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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