Family life, health and lifestyles in rural areas: the role of self‐esteem

Anthony Glendinning (Lecturer in Sociology, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, UK)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Publication date: 1 April 1998


Examines connections between family life, self‐esteem, health and lifestyles in a sample of around 1,700 young people aged 14 to 16 years old in eight rural locations in northern Scotland. Young people’s accounts of family life were characterised in terms of quality of relationships, support, family‐centredness, control and conflict. A minority of rural youth were highly negative about home life, and one in six reported low self‐esteem and poor mental health. Certain characteristics contained in young people’s accounts of family life were found to be associated with feelings of self‐esteem, subjective wellbeing and health behaviours. Additionally, self‐esteem was associated with self‐assessments of health, but not directly with health‐relevant behaviour, contrary to a prevalent assumption in health education. More detailed analysis shows that links between perceived family life and self‐esteem and health behaviour are felt quite separately from each other. However, the impact that young persons’ feelings about their home life have on self‐esteem does help to explain links between family practices and health, particularly mental health, in youth.



Glendinning, A. (1998), "Family life, health and lifestyles in rural areas: the role of self‐esteem", Health Education, Vol. 98 No. 2, pp. 59-68.

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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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