Responsibility for personal health: A historical perspective

Reflections about the role of human choice in determining personal health occur in the writings of practitioners and laymen throughout history. The Greek and Roman writers emphasized the effect of life's activities. During the Middle Ages and Renaisance, disease continued to be seen as a consequence of disorder of the bodily humors, which were under the individual's control. The rise of the paternalistic national regimes in Europe produced the view that society had the responsibility to maintain health. Jacksonian egalitarianism led to a reaction against the agressive therapies of established professional experts, a view furthered by the Thomsonian belief that people should wrest control of their health away from orthodox physicians. Among the twentieth century reactions was the movement to urge people to have doctors evaluate laypersons' health. By the 1970s a movement emerged emphasizing again personal responsibility, which, in turn, produced a concern that this was merely "victim-blaming". Views on the role of lay people in determining personal health are heavily influenced by prevailing social, political, and moral climates. Keywords: "responsibility for health: social, personal, or professional?", "causes of illness", "self-reliant health care", historical influences, responsibility for health, "victim-blaming" CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/10.1.7
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