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Salutogenesis and the Promotion of Positive Mental Health in Older People

Billings, Jenny R., Hashem, Ferhana (2010) Salutogenesis and the Promotion of Positive Mental Health in Older People. European Commission, 16 pp.


Creating positive health, or salutogenesis, and developing ways to use this concept in health care has grown steadily over the past two decade, as can be seen from discussions about how health is maintained and how health care is delivered. A salutogenic approach provides a particular perspective to the way health is viewed, which is centred on the discovery and use of personal resources, either inside a person or in the environment, that maintain a healthy status. This is opposed to the traditional view of health care, which focuses on the search for the causes of disease. In particular, theories about salutogenesis aim to explain why some people fall ill under stressful conditions and others do not. The purpose of this briefing paper is to give an initial overview of the potential and usefulness of the salutogenic approach in promoting mental health in older people. Following a brief synopsis of salutogenesis and its associated concepts, the paper will provide a picture of how it has been used to improve our understanding of older people’s health and welfare, and give an indication of how a salutogenic approach has been used in practice to promote mental health. With a focus on professionals, a further section will describe how salutogenic frameworks have been used to improve professional care. This review is based on a literature search performed in March 2010. A search was made on PubMed and the University of Kent Academic Search.Complete. The latter contains full text and abstracts for over 9,000 journals from disciplines such as health, social sciences, psychology, humanities, general science, education and multiculture. In addition, it cross references with ScienceDirect, Ingenta, Medline and Cinahl. Identified reports were included in this review based on relevance for European mental health policy and scientific quality. While there were many publications about the theory of salutogenesis and its concepts, there was very little evidence of the use of salutogenic principles in practice, however some broad treatment principles are suggested. The paper will conclude with some commentary and provide recommendations for practice and research, indicating where further work is needed.

Item Type: Research report (external)
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental health
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC952 Geriatrics
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Jenny Billings
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2013 16:55 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 09:10 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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