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Social Influences on the Health of the Rural Population in New Zealand 

Penny O’Leary, RGON, Rongotea 

Reference: O’Leary, P. (1990).  Social Influences on the Health of the Rural Population in New Zealand Nursing Praxis in New Zealand 6(1), 15-21
As a nurse living in a rural community I was interested to examine the effect of certain factors, especially policy decisions, on the health of rural communities.  In this article I use the social model of health described by Raeburn (1987) to look at the relationship between health and social conditions.  Social factors are crucial determinants of the health of the population.  I assessed historical, political, economical and environmental perspectives including community and cultural expectations, and also health care organisations.  I have identified several social factors which affect the health of rural people.  These factors include isolation, a feeling of powerlessness in relation to urban people, a lack of amenities including health services, changing farm lifestyles (with off-farm employment) and lack of community cohesion in some areas.
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