The relation of socio-ecological factors to adolescents’ health-related behaviour: A literature review

Annamari Aura (Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)
Marjorita Sormunen (Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)
Kerttu Tossavainen (Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Publication date: 1 February 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe adolescents’ health-related behaviours from a socio-ecological perspective. Socio-ecological factors have been widely shown to be related to health behaviours (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and diet) in adolescence and to affect health. The review integrates evidence with socio-ecological factors (social relationships, family, peers, schooling and environment).

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected from electronic databases and by manual search consisting of articles (n=90) published during 2002-2014. The selected articles were analysed using inductive content analysis and narrative synthesis.

Findings

The findings suggest that there was a complex set of relations connected to adolescent health behaviours, also encompassing socio-ecological factors. The authors tentatively conclude that socio-ecological circumstances influence adolescents’ health-related behaviour, but that this review does not provide the full picture. There seemed to be certain key factors with a relation to behavioural outcomes that might increase health inequality among adolescents.

Practical implications

School health education is an important pathway for interventions to reduce unhealthy behaviours among adolescents including those related to socio-ecological factors.

Originality/value

Some socio-ecological factors were strongly related to health behaviours in adolescence, which may indicate an important pathway to current and future health. This paper may help schoolteachers, nurses and other school staff to understand the relationships between socio-ecological factors and health-related behaviours, which may be useful in developing health education to reduce health disparities during adolescence.

Keywords

Citation

Aura, A., Sormunen, M. and Tossavainen, K. (2016), "The relation of socio-ecological factors to adolescents’ health-related behaviour: A literature review", Health Education, Vol. 116 No. 2, pp. 177-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-03-2014-0029

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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