Health and Illness

Models of health behavior

Social Cognitive theory

The social cognitive theory explains the various ways in which an individual can initiates and maintains a particular behavior by emphasizing on the role of interactions in different cognitive, behavioral and environmental factors. The cognition element refers to the different mental processes which occur in an individual’s life such as outcome expectancies, behavioral capability, feelings of self-efficacy and emotional coping responses. On the environmental element it refers to the physical factors that can impact the individual’s behavior (Townsend and Morgan, 2017, p. 86). This includes both physical and social factors such as weather, availability of drug substance, friends and family. Lastly on behavior, it is the manner by which an individual reacts to different inputs from their physical or social environment.

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According to this theory, the environment has been a great contribute towards Fatimah’s current condition. First, the social environment in which Fatima was born affected her eating habits and thus exposing her to the risk of diabetes and later obesity. As a child, Fatima could adapt to foods perceived to be the best and good in the society. The reaction on the social environment has also affected her health further. The case study states that Fatimah had many friends during her childhood but as her weight kept on increasing; most of the friends have isolated her (Sharp, Fear, Rona, Wessely, Greenberg, Jones and Goodwin, 2015, p. 149). This reaction causes much stress on her which again causes negative affects on her health and especially mentally and emotional wise.

Heath illness continuum model

This theory describes health as a dynamic state that fluctuates as the individual adapts to changes in both the external and internal environment in the aim of maintaining a state of wellbeing. According to this possible, it is possible that Fatimah’s condition can change in some time and so she should not give up. In fact, the case study explains that Fatimah was born as any other child but the environment she was subjected to; both the social and physical environment contributed to her developing excessive body weight and hence obesity (Olfson, Druss and Marcus, 2015, p. 2030). Therefore, the best strategy or approach Fatimah needs to adapt in concerning the environment.

First, the family and friends should understand that there support is important in Fatima’s life and they need to stop avoiding her. Instead, the family and friends should show her lots of love. Such emotional support will motivate Fatimah and minimize the high level of stress she is going through. Another thing, the family and even the healthcare givers need to check on Fatima’s diet. It is time for Fatima’s to start eating right and especially eating foods that are low in fats and cholesterol. The main reason for her getting to the state of obesity is because of excessive fats in the body. Also, Fatimah needs to be encouraged undertake physical exercise. This would also be a helpful strategy in helping her heal from the condition.

Biomedical model

This model focuses on the physical aspects of health and disease. It only looks at the physical aspect of an individual health. According to this model, Fatimah, as described in the case study is not healthy. The state of obesity makes her ill and thus in need of undergoing some treatment.

Difference between health and absence of illness

Health refers to the state of being as a complete mental, physical, and social well-being (Zimmerman, Xiao, Mehrotra and Roy, 2016, P. 65). Illness on the other hand is defined as a disease that affects the wellbeing of the body or the mind. Absence of illness is therefore, the state of having no disease in the body. The three models have clearly demonstrated the differences between these two terms. For instance, the health continuum model have described health as a dynamic state that fluctuates as the individual adapts to changes in both the external and internal environment in the aim of maintaining a state of wellbeing. This means that for one to be healthy, he or she must be in a state of no illness.

Stress and its impacts on health

Models of stress and factors that can cause a person to suffer stress

Among the most common models of stress are psychosomatic and diathesis stress. Psychosomatic stress is where the connection between the body and the mind is strengthened. In this way, the individual can either develop a disease or make it worse with the state of mental health. On the other hand, diathesis stress model deals with the existing relationship between the degree of vulnerability and condition’s possible causes. The later model, therefore, demonstrates that various people get vulnerable in various capacities and this in return affects their possibility of developing depression (Roth, Fredman and Haley, 2015, p. 310). For instance, in the case study, Fatimah’s reaction to the physical and social environment has caused her to suffer stress which in return is affecting her state of health further.

There are therefore, various factors that could have lead Fatimah’s to the present state of stress. One of these factors is emotional problems an especially low self esteem and depression. First, Fatimah sees herself different from other girls or women in the community. Her huge weight makes her look like of a low value as compared to others and hence causing her to have a low self esteem. At the same time, Fatimah has suffered the problem since her childhood. Through her family, she has tried to seek treatment but, it seems things are getting worse. All these struggles must have put Fatimah into depression and thus the high level of stress.

Another cause of stress is discrimination (Glanz, Rimer and Viswanath, 2015, p. 47). According to the case study, Fatimah has experienced discrimination and mainly from her closest friends. It is stated that her friends started withdrawing from her as her condition was becoming worse. At the same time, the society has defined the ideal female body as slender and skinny. In this way, Fatimah, feels discriminated from the society in that she does meet the standards that would make her feel beautiful. All these forms of discrimination are increasing the chances of her experiencing high levels of stress.

Physical effects of stress on the body

Among the effects of stress on the body is headache. Any individual suffering high levels of stress will constantly complain of having headaches. This is because when under stress, the brain tends to strain in functioning and thus causing stretch of the nerves hence headache. Another thing, stress can cause chest pain. Since Fatimah is already overweight, the possibility of her suffering from chest pain is high because her body movements are limited. It would be helpful for her to prevent the occurrence of chest pain by taking physical exercises which help in relaxing the nerves. However, because all this is hard, she is likely to suffer chest pain which will worsen her condition (Berger and Sarnyai, 2015, p. 9).

Persistence of the stress levels is likely to cause more adverse effects on Fatimah’s life in the future. She is most likely to undergo feelings of sadness and depression. This would be worse considering her already being obese. Obesity exposes her to risk of diseases such as high blood pressure. When sadness and depression is involved, the possibility of experiencing such diseases like high blood pressure and heart attack are high and this will put Fatimah’s life at a higher risk.

How Fatimah may change her behavior and life style

Definitely, Fatimah needs to change her behavior and lifestyle. First, she needs to stop feeling sorry for herself because of her body size. Fatimah needs to begin appreciating herself and accept the way she is as a different person. By doing so, this strategy will minimize her level of stress and thus help her prevent the occurrence of many other health problems. Another thing, she needs to stop taking foods that are rich in fats and cholesterol. By taking no more much fats, it will serve as a helpful tool for her to manage the condition (Townsend and Morgan, 2017, p. 105). Also, Fatimah should be encouraged to undertake physical exercises at least twice a day. Through physical exercise, the body will burn the excess fats and thus a helpful strategy to improving her health.

Concepts of mental health

The concept of mental health and wellbeing

Mental health refers to the state of wellbeing where the individual gets to realize his own potential, cope with the normal life stresses, work fruitfully and productively and can as well contribute to her community. However, just like with the case of physical illnesses, there are many cases where an individual suffers mental problems. As such, it is important to treat mental health just like one would deal with physical illnesses.

Ways in which abnormal behavior may be diagnosed

First, abnormal behavior may be diagnosed through a physical examination. In this way, the doctor can try ruling out the physical problems that can cause mental health symptoms. For instance, in the case study, it is stated that doctors have constantly taken DeAndre for examination and tests in the aim to understand the root cause behind his abnormal behavior. Another method of diagnosing abnormal behavior is performing lab tests. A lab test may include screening the individual for drugs or alcohol use. Excessive use of drugs or drinking too much alcohol is a symbol of stress that is connected to mental health. Some people opt to take excess amount of drugs in the attempt to deal with stress and making drug consumption as a symbol of mental health (Townsend and Morgan, 2017, p. 207). For instance, it is stated that DeAndre is mostly found drunk with alcohol and hence a symbol for his mental illness. Lastly, would be by conducting some psychological evaluation. In this way, the healthcare provider talks to the victim about his thoughts, symptoms, behavior patterns and feelings. For instance in the case study, it is stated that DeAndre has been constantly taken to his psychiatrist in the attempt to investigate his condition.

Indicators that the person is mentally healthy or mental ill

From the case study, it is evident that DeAndre is mentally ill. Among the symptoms are anger and violence. DeAndre is described as being a violent person who is also constantly angry about simple issues such as the existence of CCTV cameras. He is reported to be shouting claiming for his privacy rights and that there should be no CCTV cameras. This is one of the indications that he is mentally ill. Another symptom is excessive alcohol or drug use. In most of the times, DeAndre is found excessively drunk in the streets. This is another clear indication that his mental state is not right. It is also not easy to explain to DeAndre about anything. He has troubled understanding which is another indicator of being mentally ill.

How cultural background may complicate diagnosis

Cultural backgrounds have a great effect when it comes to diagnosis and especially in dealing with issues of mental health (Olfson, Druss and Marcus, 2015, p. 2035).In the present case, DeAndre’s mother who is a Protestant believes that is full of spirits that make her speak in tongues. She also believes that her son’s condition is as a result of his communication with God. From this belief, the medical examiners may be limited from doing their work. It would mean that DeAndre’s is not mentally ill and he is going through some spiritual transformation.



Berger, M. and Sarnyai, Z., 2015. “More than skin deep”: stress neurobiology and mental health consequences of racial discrimination. Stress, 18(1), pp.1-10.

Glanz, K., Rimer, B.K. and Viswanath, K. eds., 2015. Health behavior: Theory, research, and practice. John Wiley & Sons.

Roth, D.L., Fredman, L. and Haley, W.E., 2015. Informal caregiving and its impact on health: A reappraisal from population-based studies. The Gerontologist, 55(2), pp.309-319.

Olfson, M., Druss, B.G. and Marcus, S.C., 2015. Trends in mental health care among children and adolescents. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(21), pp.2029-2038.

Sharp, M.L., Fear, N.T., Rona, R.J., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., Jones, N. and Goodwin, L.,

2015. Stigma as a barrier to seeking health care among military personnel with mental health problems. Epidemiologic reviews, 37(1), pp.144-162.

Townsend, M.C. and Morgan, K.I., 2017. Psychiatric mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. FA Davis.

Zimmerman, R.S., Xiao, Z., Mehrotra, P. and Roy, C., 2016. Models of health behavior change. Introduction to Global Health Promotion, 65.