Behavior change or empowerment : on the ethics of health-promotion strategies

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Behavior change or empowerment : on the ethics of health-promotion strategies

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Behavior change or empowerment : on the ethics of health-promotion strategies
Author(s) Tengland, Per-Anders
Date 2012
English abstract
There are several strategies to promote health in individuals and populations. Two general approaches to health promotion are behavior change and empowerment. The aim of this article is to present those two kinds of strategies, and show that the behavior change approach has some moral problems, problems that the empowerment approach (on the whole) is better at handling. Two distinct “ideal types” of these practices are presented and scrutinized. Behavior-change interventions use various kinds of theory to target people’s behavior, which they do through information, persuasion, coercion and manipulation. Empowerment is a collaborative method where those “facilitated” participate in the change process. Some ethical problems with the behavior change model are that it does not sufficiently respect the right to autonomy of the individuals involved, and that it risks reducing their ability for autonomy of the individuals involved and risks increasing health inequalities. Empowerment, on the other hand, respects the participant’s right to autonomy, tends to increase the ability for autonomy, as well as increasing other coping skills, and is likely to reduce inequalities. A drawback with the method is that it often takes longer to realize.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/phe/phs022 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher Oxford University Press
Host/Issue Public Health Ethics;2
Volume 5
ISSN 1754-9981
Pages 140–153
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) autonomy
equality
ability
control
power
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/14851 (link to this page)

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