How Should Psychologists Model Socio-economic Influences on Health Behavior Patterns?


  • N. Hankonen


Aims: 1. To discuss the potential of research on socioeconomic status (SES) and health behavior to increase intervention effectiveness across socioeconomic groups. 2. To discuss the relevance of measuring SES when investigating behavioural regulation mechanisms. 3. To present diverse empirical studies that will demonstrate how sociostructural/SES measures can combined with health psychological theories. 4. To demonstrate moderation and mediation effects of SES in relation to psychological antecedents of health behaviour. 5. To discuss future directions of how to model socio-economic influences in health psychological research. Rationale: Socioeconomic status (SES) is a key determinant of health and health behaviours, yet, only recently have health psychology researchers explicitly included SES in their investigations. APA task force on SES in 2006 called for increased focus on SES in psychological research, and governments increasingly target efforts to decrease socioeconomic health inequalities. Summary: This symposium provides examples of how health psychological research meaningfully incorporates sociostructural aspects in its models, and discusses what value this can provide in enhancing our understanding of health psychological processes in various demographic groups and the potential of increasing intervention effectiveness to reduce health inequalities.