Views of health in the lay sector: A compilation and review of how individuals think about health

Renee Hughner, Susan Schultz Kleine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The way lay people think about health and wellness influences their health and wellness-related behaviors. This article integrates and synthesizes the research conducted to understand lay health worldviews. We identify 18 themes that capture the findings about lay health worldviews. The themes fall into four categories: definitions of health, explanations for health, external and/or uncontrollable factors impinging on health, and the place health occupies in people's lives. The results lead to the observation that lay health worldviews - or healthstyles - are not understood in depth, particularly in US populations. Variation across the themes underscores the need for further descriptive research designed to understand consumers' ways of thinking about health and how the many changes in the professional and folk sectors affect lay worldviews. This has implications with respect to understanding consumers' health care behaviors and developing more effective communication strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-422
Number of pages28
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Attitudes toward health
  • Lay health beliefs
  • Meanings of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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