From risk factors to health resources in medical practice

The healing and preventive powers of people's health resources and self-assessed knowledge have so far been grossly underestimated in medicine. In this article, we call attention to ethical and epistemological dilemmas related to knowledge, values, communication, and autonomy embedded in the prevailing risk-oriented epidemiology, and suggest a patient-centred salutogenetic approach to promote a better balance between resources and risks in medicine. Identification and intervention upon risk factors can provide hypotheses about origins of disease and predict and sometimes prevent disease at a group level. However, there are several pitfalls related to this perspective concerning causal factors, group level based possibilities, adequate end points for intervention, informed consent, and medicalization, especially in the individualized context of the clinical encounter. By introducing a salutogenic perspective, we urge to shift the attention toward resources, agency and strength, which may counteract risk of disease and empower the patient. Talk can mediate oppression as well as empowerment. A communicative key question approach, and self-assessed health resources identified through this strategy, are briefly presented as examples of empowerment through dialogue
Keywords autonomy  communication  empowerment  epidemiology  general practice  healing  health resources  informed consent  preventive medicine  risk factors  salutogenesis
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1026597306628
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 45,328
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Health Risks and the Health Care Professional.Helen L. Treanor - 2000 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 3 (3):251-254.
The Significance of the Concept of Disease for Justice in Health Care.Thomas Schramme - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (2):121-135.
Risk, Fear, Blame, Shame and the Regulation of Public Safety.Jonathan Wolff - 2006 - Economics and Philosophy 22 (3):409-427.
The Burden of Dementia: A Medical and Research Perspective.Piero Antuono & Jan Beyer - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (1):3-13.
Variations in Physician Practice and Covert Rationing.Joe Feinglass - 1987 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 8 (1).
Professional Autonomy in the Health Care System.John J. Polder & Henk Jochemsen - 2000 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (5):477-491.


Added to PP index

Total views
15 ( #577,858 of 2,280,272 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #831,075 of 2,280,272 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature