Perceptions of health is a natural progression from the relative nature of health. The term perception is about how something is interpreted and understood. It is similar to perspective, but is not limited to what you see, but how you interpret what you see. E.g. the glass is half full or half empty. The technical definition of perception:
The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted.
This dot point then, focuses on how health is regarded, understood and interpreted. It relates to people’s opinions of health and how these opinions are formed. How something is understood often relates to preconceived ideas and belief systems, which are affected by society around us. This includes: media, family and peers influences on your understanding of health, as well as considering how society as a whole influences your construct of health – what it means? how to be healthy? etc
Everyone has an idea of what health is, and what health is to you will be different from what it is to the person next to you and the person across the other side of the world. These ideas of health are very subjective and open to change. They also affect your behaviour, and if your perception of your health is incorrect it can lead to dangerous behaviours.
The Preliminary PDHPE syllabus provides the following:
Students learn about
- perceptions of health
Students learn to
- examine perceptions of health by exploring questions such as:
- how healthy am I? How healthy do other people think I am?
- how healthy do I think other people are?
- why would my perceptions of health be similar or different to others?
- how might an individual’s perception of health affect their behaviour and wellbeing?
- determine the degree to which perceptions of health are socially constructed
Discuss the degree to which a persons perception of their health is socially constructed. 6 marks
What are the implications of different perceptions of health? 3 marks
How do media, peers and family impact people’s concept of health? 4 marks