Psychosocial correlates of health practices in black South African university students

  • K Peltzer


The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence and psychosocial correlates of health practices among young male and female adults. The sample included 793 Black University students from non-health courses chosen at random from the University of the North, South Africa. The students were 370 (46.7%) males and 423 (53.3%) females in the age range of 18 to 25 years (M age=21.0 years, SD=3.48). The assessment measures included a Health Practices Index, the Health Locus of Control Scale, Health as a Value Scale, subjective health status, subjective well-being, health benefits, and health status. Results indicated that participants practiced on average above 7 healthy behaviours from a total of 14. There was a significant sex difference in the health practices index, since on average the women's behaviour was more healthy than that of men in terms of tobacco use, alcohol consumption, seat belt use, and cancer self-examination, but men exercised more regularly than women. Above 70% of the participants practiced the following health behaviours: brushing teeth once or more per day, non-tobacco use, very occasional or no alcohol, limited red meat, and never sunbathed or used suncreen in that order. Formal education of the mother, internal locus of control and worse health status were positively associated with the health practices index. Other sociodemographic (age, SES, religion) and psychological (health value, health benefits) factors were not significantly related to healthy practices.

Health SA Gesondheid Vol.6(3) 2001: 68-74

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eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848