eISSN: 2450-5722
ISSN: 2450-5927
Journal of Health Inequalities
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vol. 5
Book review

Book review: “The physical and social environment, quality of school, and subjective health and health behaviours of adolescents” by Joanna Mazur and Agnieszka Małkowska-Szkutnik (eds.)

Zbigniew Izdebski

Department of Biomedical Basic Development and Sexology, Faculty of Pedagogy, University of Warsaw, Poland Department of Humanisation in Medicine and Sexology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Zielona Góra, Poland
J Health Inequal 2019; 5 (2): 192-194
Online publish date: 2019/12/30
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Since many years, adolescence is considered a key period for the shaping of health behaviours. These, in turn, had a direct impact on the health condition of adolescents, their later health in adulthood, as well as the health of their future families.
English-language studies on the determinants of health behaviours attach increasing importance to individual and environmental factors as well as the interactions among them. School, aside from family, is the most important element of the growing-up environment, influencing students’ well-being and their engagement in health-conducive or health-impairing behaviours. An assumption can be made that some behaviours accumulate in some schools and environments because students influence each other. The correlation between the characteristics of a school and its students can be bidirectional. Schools in which the atmosphere is better, which meet teaching and education standards, and properly perform the custodial function of a school can expect more positive student health behaviours. On the other hand, the presence of students with problematic behaviours may negatively affect a school’s climate. One can also expect social problems characteristic of elite schools, in which the phenomenon of rivalry intensifies. Physical conditions are also significant, e.g. the standard of the building, the school’s surroundings.
Due to the above, it is worth noting a project funded by Poland’s National Science Centre, conducted in 2014-2017 at the Institute of Mother and Child in cooperation with the Faculty of Education of the University of Warsaw. At the assessment stage, the project ranked top on the list of the OPUS5 competition (no. 2013/09/B/HS6/03438). The full title of the project was „The physical and social environment, quality of school, and subjective health and health behaviours of adolescents – application of structural and path models estimated on data of a hierarchical structure” [1]. The monograph, which is the subject of this review, was published in 2017 and is the outcome of cooperation among seven national research centres. The authors’ published report on completed tasks is composed of three substantive parts and a fourth presenting documentation of the project. The report was illustrated with examples of posters presented at academic conferences.
The project’s distinguishing feature was the use of data of a hierarchical structure, which is still rarely encountered in Polish studies, in...

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