Theorizing Social Context: Rethinking Behavioral Theory
ABSTRACT Major behavioral theories focus on proximal influences on behavior that are considered to be predominantly cognitive characteristics of the individual largely uninfluenced by social context. Social ecological models integrate multiple levels of influence on health behavior and are noted for emphasizing the interdependence of environmental settings and life domains. This theory-based article explains how social context is conceptualized in the social sciences and how the social science conceptualization differs from and can broaden the analytic approach to health behavior. The authors use qualitative data from the Behavioral Constructs and Culture in Cancer Screening study to illustrate our conceptualization of social context. We conclude that the incorporation into health behavior theory of a multidimensional socioculturally oriented, theoretical approach to social context is critical to understand and redress health disparities in multicultural societies like the United States.
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ABSTRACT: Within the field of oncology, increasing access to high quality care has been identified as a priority to reduce cancer disparities. Previous research reveals that the facilities where patients receive their cancer care have implications for cancer outcomes. However, there is little understanding of how patients decide where to seek cancer care. This study examined the factors that shape patients' pathways to seek their cancer care at a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center (NCI-CCC), and differences in these factors by race, income and education.PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e110649. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110649 · 3.53 Impact Factor