Featured Topic: Health Promotion

Sarah Krivan 


Over the last few months the effects of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic have reached across the globe, uniting the efforts of scientists, world leaders, and everyday citizens to contain the spread of this disease. Life is looking a lot different for most, if not all, of us, including changes to our daily routines and how we interact with other people. On an individual level, maintaining good health will be at the forefront of many people’s minds. SBP authors have contributed dozens of papers on mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or social health, containing many ideas for ways to introduce healthy behaviors into our everyday lives.

Wondering where to begin with improving your health? Small steps are a good starting place. Peltzer (2001) reported that participants who brushed their teeth once or more per day and ate breakfast every day had a higher frequency of undertaking healthy behaviors, a finding that he also found to be further supported in a later study on this topic (Peltzer & Pengpid, 2013). Further, Mio and Matsumuto (2018) noted that completing a single session of a mental health promotion program was sufficient to significantly reduce irrational beliefs and increase self-esteem among junior high school students. It seems the effects of small actions are not to be underestimated.

Need to consider different age groups with varying health needs? Showing that it’s never too young to begin modeling health-promoting behaviors, Bektas and Ozturk (2008) found that at the end of a 10-week health education program, primary school students were engaging in more healthy behaviors and had lower anxiety. At the other end of the age spectrum, Morowatisharifabad, Ghofranipour, Hidarnia, Ruchi, and Ehrampoush (2006) reported that, among older adults aged 65 years and above, enhanced self-efficacy was positively associated with engaging in health-promoting behaviors.

Deciding which sources to access your information from? Miller and Miller (1995) examined how message framing affects health beliefs, and found that participants who were instructed to think about disease detection, as opposed to health promotion, reported greater perceptions of severity and personal susceptibility to a disease. In the context of the current pandemic, focusing on ways to improve and maintain your health—rather than how many new cases are detected in a given time period—may be a better way to frame how you view the COVID-19 situation. Demographic characteristics may also have an influence in relation to which information sources you will tend to rely on, with Mokounkolo and Mullet (1999) observing that older adults had greater confidence in conventional medicine than did younger people.

In recognition of the importance of research on the effects and implications of COVID-19, we’re currently offering expedited review, fast-tracked open-access publication, and a reduced flat fee for articles on these topics. For more information, please see https://www.sbp-journal.com/index.php/sbp/pages/view/COVID_19_Research. You can also sign up for a personal subscription to SBP, which will give you access to the more than 6,000 papers we’ve published in the fields of social, behavioral, and developmental psychology.

If you want to read more about the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend accessing information from a reliable source, such as the Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Psychosocial correlates of healthy lifestyles in Black and White South Africans – Karl Peltzer, 2001, 29(3), 249–256.

Subjective happiness and health behavior among a sample of university students in India – Karl Peltzer and Supa Pengpid, 2013, 41(6), 1045–1056.

A single-session universal mental health promotion program in Japanese schools: A pilot study – Mayumi G. Mio and Yuki Matsumuto, 2018, 46(10), 1727–1744.

Effect of health promotion education on presence of positive health behaviors, level of anxiety and self-concept – Murat Bektas and Candan Ozturk, 2008, 36(5), 681–690.

Self-efficacy and health promotion behaviors of older adults in Iran – Mohammad ali Morowatisharifabad, Fazlollah Ghofranipour, Alireza Hidarnia, Gholamreza Babaee Ruchi, and Mohammad Hassan Ehrampoush, 2006, 34(7), 759–768.

Spontaneous responses to thinking about disease detection and health promotion behaviors – Murray G. Millar and Karen U. Millar, 1995, 23(2), 191–198.

Lay beliefs on the nature of health: An English-French comparison – Rene Mokounkolo and Etienne Mullet, 1999, 27(5), 439–454.