Socio-psychological health/ physical recreation model

PhD, Associate Professor M.A. Elmurzaev1
PhD, Associate Professor I.A. Panchenko1
PhD, Associate Professor N.V. Pakholkova1
1St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg

Keywords: physical recreation, individual health, socio-psychological health model, personality culture, social health rating criteria

Background. For the last few years the national science has produced quite a few studies with the productive ideas for the socio-psychological health theory, with the main priority given to the individual and social psychological culture development elements. The newly formed discipline of Health Psychology with its evolving values and meanings gives much attention to the social factors of influence on the human psychological health, with the term socio-psychological health being increasingly used by the research community.

Objective of the study was to provide theoretical grounds for a socio-psychological health model and test it benefits for the physical education/ recreation service.

Results and discussion. The socio-psychological health model design and test initiatives in the physical education/ recreation process need to be governed by the assumption that health under the socio-psychological health model may be classified into social, psychological and mental components, albeit the assumption is rather provisional and acceptable for the analytical purposes only [4].

Social health is arguably the least addressed and seldom used term in the national science. Social health may be described as basically formed at macro- and micro-levels, with the macro-level covering the social environment including the wellbeing; valid social behavior regulating rules and standards; leisure time; educational and cultural domains; influence of the mass media organizations; social recreation infrastructure development rate etc. It is critical for the individual/ communal social health securing initiatives that the public institutions are reasonably sensitive to and responsible for the public health standards and persistently taking efforts to improve them. On the micro-level, social health is determined by the individual relationship with the closest social environment including the families, work teams and different public associations. This is the prime level for the individual social health protection and improvement efforts since the mental comfort/ psychological climate in the closest social cycle largely depends on how high is the individual culture.

One of the core albeit still underdeveloped issues is the social health rating criteria. The ones offered by G.S. Nikiforov (2002) are generally centered on the personality development psychology and its logics with the adequate social attitudes, altruism, empathy etc. ranked among the best social health qualities. It should be noted, however, that every social situation is as volatile as the individual psychological system that may be determined not only by the purely psychological but also economic, social, environmental and other aspects – that means that neither set of the social health rating criteria may be considered final and inclusive enough; all the more that every society, community and individual may have its own social health rating criteria that unlikely may be harmonically combined to offer an optimal set of criteria at this juncture [3].

Psychological health has been in priority in the research communities for the last few years, with its protection and improvement methods ranked among the most interesting topics by the researchers. This interest may be due to many reasons including the concerns over the deteriorating psychological health standards. As reported, for instance, by the National Mental Health Institute in the US, about 20% of the global population is diagnosed with different neurotic syndromes that are forecasted to only grow. The ongoing socio-economic crisis has heavily contributed to the global mental health sagging trend, with almost 70% of adults worldwide tested with anxiety due to the lack of confidence in future, high aggression, excessive emotionality or depressions, apathies and sociopathic tendencies that sooner or later would grow to mental health disorders. Of special concern in this context are the youth mental health deterioration statistics.

When it comes to the benefits of the modern physical recreation for the socio-psychological health improvement purposes, they should be rated rather by the personality psychological health rather than the individual psychical health rating ones. Individual psychical health is determined by the brain functions, higher nervous activity and mental processes that reflect the outside world by certain images. Disorders in the mental processes triggered by diseases of the human psyche are primarily of organic origin and subject to medical sciences.

Psychological health is fully determined by the social factors and may suffer from unfavorable social environments. Good psychological health includes many aspects including optimistic attitudes, adequate ambitions, confidence, independence, fair self-rating, tolerance etc. Deviations in the personality psychological qualities and statuses may manifest themselves in neuroticism, depression, frustration, social apathy and indifference. They may be cured by the relevant socializing/ correction tools with the key role often played by the modern physical recreation ones.

Mental health is viewed as an important element of an individual socio-psychological health status although this term is relatively new for the national science since it has traditionally studied the psychical health only – derived from the Greek term psychiсos meaning soul, with the spiritual and psychical matters considered synonymic. Since the ХIХ century when psychology came to being as an independent scientific discipline with its attributes, it has lost its interest in the human soul and concentrated instead on the psychical processes, qualities, conditions and consciousness as such. As mentioned by the Russian philosopher V. Kluchevskiy, ‘psychology was once a scientific discipline focused on a human soul but later on evolved into the one concerned by its absence’.

We believe that a clear line should be drawn to separate the above meanings and definitions that must not be considered synonymic however close they may seem. Mental aspects are not fully synonymic to the psychical ones and consciousness – since the latter refers to only a certain part of the human psyche and ignores the unconscious, unrealized, subconscious and super-conscious aspects – that means that the spiritual matters cannot be synonymic to consciousness related ones and psyche on the whole.

The crisis in our society associated with the ongoing revisions of the moral standards and values has revived the people’s natural attention to the issues of spirituality and mental health. An individual spirituality grows with the attempts to develop the own reasoning and world outlook based on the personal concepts, symbolic meanings and priorities. Spiritual life refers to the individual inner world, system of own life values and attitudes, and may be defined as the most important moral category of a person.

Mental health may be interpreted as the dynamic personal characteristic indicative of the ability to set meaningful life goals and achieve them, with the own behaviors duly harmonized with the laws of nature and social expectations and requirements, and with every element (from the psycho-physiological to the values and world outlook) of the own mental system being well self-controlled. Mental health is the study subject  of philosophical, psychological and cultural sciences rather than the medical or even purely psychological sciences [2].

The physical recreation models analyzed herein are designed on a common basis that is the human health, with every model addressing some of its elements. Physical health is governed by the biological laws of the human body as a material substrate of health and, hence, should be considered in terms of the individual qualities, with the health-improvement physical recreation service models being customized to the latter. The psychological physical recreation model is designed to have the following two tiers: psychological individual qualities and the individual motivations for the physical recreation. These two tiers are addressed in the humanistic and motivational physical recreation models. Mental health will be formed by the relevant socio-cultural physical recreation tools, with each physical recreation service model geared to prevent and correct every emerging negative health condition.

Of special importance for the above models albeit uneasy for formulation is the health norm/ standard definition. Since the individual and societal health is always in progress, the attempts to set some invariable health standard are unlikely productive. As rightfully provided by B.S. Bratus (1988), ‘norm and pathology is never clear enough when refers to a live human being. A health norm is never definite enough to define an individual once and forever since it comprises a dimensional value that constantly changes with time all the life through within the specific historical and socio-economic conditions that largely determine the norms. Even a person with physical limitations may still be psychologically and mentally healthy enough. For professional athletes, for instance, a deviation from the commonly accepted health standards is considered “normal’ [1].

Health standard may be defined as the optimal human life range or dynamic balance, with every change in the environment or the own self responded by a delicately tuned response system. It should be analyzed inclusively and comprehensively as a combination of the biologically optimal, psychologically most acceptable, spiritually descent and appealing manifestations of a human nature

Conclusion. The physical recreation service models analyzed herein with the relevant health elements (social, psychological and mental ones) referred to at the same time as the integrated health rating criteria – make it possible to develop the high-quality physical recreation service models with their practical application strategies.


  1. Bratus B.S. Postanovka problemy normy psikhicheskogo razvitiya [Mental development norm problem statement]. Anatomiya lichnosti. Moscow, 1988. pp. 6-24.
  2. Kanapatskiy A.Ya. Ontologicheskaya istinnost dukhovnosti [Ontological truth of spirituality]. Doct. diss. abstr. (Philos.). Ufa, 2004. p.  23.
  3. Nikiforov G.S. Psikhologiya zdorovya [Health Psychology]. Study guide. St. Petersburg: Rech publ., 2002. 256 p.
  4. Elmurzaev M.A. Sotsiokulturny potentsial fizicheskoy rekreatsii [Sociocultural Potential of Physical Recreation]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2014, no. 2, pp. 52-54.

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Objective of the study was to provide theoretical grounds for a socio-psychological health model and test it benefits for the physical education/ recreation service system. The socio-psychological health model design and test initiatives in the physical education/ recreation process need to be governed by the assumption that health viewed under the socio-psychological health model, may be classified into the social, psychological and mental health elements, albeit the assumption is rather provisional and acceptable for the analytical purposes only. The physical recreation models analyzed under the study are generally focused on the relevant health categories. Thus the physical health implies certain biological logics of bodily functions, with the body viewed as a material health substrate analyzable by a variety of individual health rates and addressed by the adaptation/ health improvement physical recreation models. The psychological physical recreation is analyzed by the following two categories: individual mental qualities and motivations for the physical education/ recreation. The both categories are represented by the humanistic and motivational physical recreation models. And mental health is addressed by the socio-cultural aspects of the physical recreation models. The key goal of the modern physical recreation is to prevent and correct potential health disorders.