Work package 6: Human and social sciences – University of Copenhagen

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Work package 6

Human and social sciences

Work package-leader: Reinhard Stelter

Work package 6 will use a human and social science perspective to provide assessments for all participants and deliver comparable information about personal and social backgrounds as well as about the experiences with and evaluations of the interventions in WP 1-4.

The central research idea is to markedly improve our understanding of key determinants of the behavior for the participating women and to identify potentials for changes, e.g. with regard to the life styles.  

In addition, the impact of these intertwining aspects on motivation for and compliance with the demands of the interventions will be explored.

BackgrounTil toppend

The various groups of women in the studies have specific health issues and different experiences, outlooks on life, expectations, biographies, abilities, and motivations. Their willingness to comply with the programs may vary as well as their attitudes to and opinions about physical activity and nutrition.

Til toppenOverall aim

The aim is in a human and social science perspective to provide assessments for all participants and deliver information about their backgrounds in all WP´s as well as to gain information about the subjects in the beginning of the interventions and to gain insight about the changes the participants experience throughout the interventions and after their completion.

Til toppenTheory and concepts

Theoretical sociological and psychological concepts help to understand the reasons and backgrounds for the individual’s approaches to the interventions, i.e. to physical activity and nutrition. Gender theories (Messner et al 2003), concepts of habitus and tastes (Bourdieu et al 1984), socialization concepts (Shilling et al 1993) and motivation theories (Biddle et al 2001; Palmer et al 2003; Sherer et al 1982) provide insight about factors and processes which have an impact on the lives of the individuals. Based on these concepts and the results of numerous studies there is evidence that physical activity and nutrition are closely related to e.g. gender, age, social class, education, ethnicity, circumstances of life including family situation, work-life-balance and the subjective health status (Hochschild et al 1997; King et al 2002; Pfister et al 1999). The impact of these intertwining aspects on motivation for and compliance with the demands of the interventions will be explored.

MethodTil toppens

An exploratory survey will be conducted at the baseline. All subjects will answer the same questions. In this way, the researchers will get social background information about the participants in the interventions. Also these questionnaires will provide the material for a comparison across the different intervention populations. Further assessments will follow in the middle and after the interventions including questions about the subjects´ evaluations of the programs. A follow up survey shall investigate the long term effects of the different interventions. Additional methods will include psychological tests, various forms of interviews and observations.

Til toppenReferences

Biddle SJH and Mutrie N. Psychology of physical activity: determinants, well-being, and interventions. London; United Kingdom: Routledge, 2001.

Bourdieu P. A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Hochschild AR. The time bind: When work becomes home and home becomes work. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1997.

King AC, Bauman AE and Calfas K. Innovative approaches to understanding and influencing physical activity. New York: Elsevier Science, 2002

Messner MA. Taking the field: women, men, and sports. Minneapolis, Minn.; United States: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

Palmer S, Tubbs I and Whybrow A. Health coaching to facilitate the promotion of healthy behaviour and achievement of health-related goals. International Journal of Health Promotion & Education 41: 91-93, 2003.

Pfister G. Sport im Lebenszusammenhang von Frauen (Sport in the life course of women). Schorndorf: Hofmann, 1999.

Shilling C. Body & Social Theory. SAGE press, 1993.

Sherer M, Maddux JE, Mercandante B, Prentice-Dunn S, Jacobs B and Rogers RW. The self-efficacy scale: Construction and validation. Psychological Reports 51: 663-671, 1982.

Til toppenResearchers

Researchers, work package 6