Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology and Rural Studies


An individual’s conception of his health may be influenced by social as well as physical and psychological considerations. The problem under investigation is to determine whether certain social bariables are related to conception of health and, if they are, to describe a health status-role suggested by the variables considered. Health is no longer considered to be exclusively a biological phenomenon. It is influenced by psychological and sociological forces as well as physical ones. The layman may accept the belief that a person’s attitude or his personality may affect how he feels, but he might question a statement about an individual’s status in a group having an effect upon his conception of his health. The present study suggests that there are certain social expectations which, if not met, influence an individual to say that he does not feel well even though he does not have a discernible physical or psychological illness. If an individual is old, poorly educated, has a low net-worth, does not participate in numerous organizations including church organizations, has an unfavorable attitude toward retirement, seeks material comforts and does not value friendship then he may say that he does not feel well even though he suffers from no apparent physical or psychological illnesses. This study is considered to be basic research and, therefore, is not exclusively concerned with solving a practical problem. Applied research is ordinarily designed to help solve some existing problem, but basic research is an attempt to establish general principles.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Health surveys
Social psychology
Mental health


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University