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date: 26 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the dynamics of changes in health indicators in Central and Eastern Europe over the last 20 years. It presents illustrations of the East–West health divide from different countries and compares groups of countries. It offers in-depth case studies from Bulgaria and Romania to represent further dimensions of the psychosocial and a sociocultural contextualization of health. The events in Eastern Europe illustrate the importance of bringing a contextual lens to health psychology phenomena. Behaviour change models need to take into account meanings of health and of health protective, preventive, or risk behaviours. Lifestyles cannot be conceptualized as purely individual choices, but are co-constructed within cultural values and contingent upon material conditions. Health care reform in Central and Eastern Europe needs to be undertaken in multiple directions simultaneously—structural and policy changes, health promotion, behavior change interventions, using participatory approaches coordinated with community groups—to ensure that health indicators will continue to improve.

Keywords: Health, social change, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, health psychology

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