Areas of Research

Health Promotion & Socio-behavioural Health Sciences

What is health promotion and socio-behavioural health?

Health promotion and socio-behavioural health involves investigating the how the actions of individuals, groups, organizations and communities promote health, prevent disease and foster informed decision-making on health risks.

What are we doing in the area of health promotion and socio-behavioural health?

Since 1996, we have offered internationally-recognized training programs though the Centre for Health Promotion Studies, which has established itself as a Canadian leader in research on socio-behavioural aspects of health. Our area is explicitly interdisciplinary in its research focus, and draws on theories and perspectives from sociology, psychology, geography, education, political science, communication studies, social ecology, and anthropology.

Methodologically, we are committed to a balanced perspective that includes descriptive qualitative work, participatory approaches, as well as population surveys and randomized efficacy and effectiveness trials. We offer research-intensive students extensive opportunities to work with faculty who provide mentorship in a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches.

What is the focus of our research?

Faculty interests are focused on prevention of a variety of common chronic diseases, including obesity, cancer, addictions and other mental health conditions. We also investigate dynamics of community responses to health threats, and the social and political dimensions of health systems and services. 

  • Cindy Jardine works in the areas of health risk communication. Her research focuses on building dialogues around potential risks that incorporate both the scientific aspects of risk assessment together with the social, cultural, ethical, political and legal considerations that shape informed decisions on personal and societal management of risk. 
  • Kim Raine directs the research program Promoting Optimal Weights through Ecological Research (POWER). POWER investigates social and ecological determinants of overweight, obesity and associated chronic diseases. Most of this research focuses on community and policy-level population health interventions.

    Examples of intervention research programs under POWER include Healthy Alberta Communities and the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention.
  • Cameron Wild directs the Addiction and Mental Health Research Laboratory (AMHRL). AMHRL investigates psychosocial aspects of addiction and mental health, including: studies of problem drinking, injection drug use, smoking, social policy related to addictions, and characteristics and capacities of treatment systems and services. Both etiologic and preventive work is of interest.

    In addition, AMHRL manages Know Mo, a website that aims to be the hub for addictions and mental health information in Alberta.