Role of Behavioral Sciences in Public Health


When it comes to public health, many concepts need investigation to prevent any future outbreak of diseases. It will help the community live a prolonged life and create more awareness about public health issues. Public health experts use theories and facts from environmental health and biostatistics to find the cause of health outcomes and diseases in the population.

In addition to these concepts, social and behavioral science also plays a role in public health. Behavioral science is all about how the population’s behavior directly influences the community and shifts the paradigm of healthcare outcomes. Through this article, we will explore how behavioral sciences influence public health. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Explains What Influences People to Act

Numerous factors make people act differently. Behavioral sciences help public health experts pinpoint the exact causes. These can be psychological influences which include the neighborhood and families a person grows up in and how they incline them to make certain decisions. For instance, if a child grows up in an unstable house with domestic violence at every corner, that will give them lasting PTSD. It also controls how the child acts around others, not further to endanger themselves. The question that arises in the mind is, what is applied behavioral science? The discipline uses systematic observation and experimentation in the scientific study of human and nonhuman animal actions and reactions. Behavioral experts also delve into how societal, cultural, and biological influences such as aging and how you get impulsive with age also play a role in a person’s thought process. If a person grows in a healthy atmosphere, he will reflect positive outcomes.

2. Analyzes the Relationship Between the Brain and the Environment

People who have trauma, are struggling with addiction, have anxiety, or suffer from epilepsy have one thing in common. These are all brain conditions. Using behavioral sciences, public health experts can explain how the environment can trigger and make people dissociate from their surroundings. Due to domestic violence or increased criminal activity in their surroundings, families with trauma are either extremely aggressive or hostile to newcomers or become meek and submissive. Suppose you stimulate a trigger such as a loud noise or bang the door. In that case, their behavior completely alters to either protect themselves or flee. With this information, public health experts can look into community members with brain conditions and connect them to appropriate help. Maybe they need a doctor with counseling on the side to come out of the state they’re in.

3. Comprehend Health Risks

Public health experts want to understand why some community members show more resistance to medicine and research than others. For example, when the pandemic was at its peak, people refused to wear the face mask, but what kept them from putting on a mask? Was it a cultural belief? An opinion of the masses or a rebellious steak. It helps public health experts devise new policies. After all, they can’t help the people until they understand what thought process is behind their behavior. It also helps public health experts pick the language in which they want to educate people. The CDC gives out the notifications, and WHO needs to be bilingual. Maybe more simplistic terms may help people understand. Other health risks public health experts explore are the causes of obesity and malnourishment. In this case study, they learn about how accessible food is all over the city and the number of fast-food restaurants that offer affordable and quick meals contributing to the health crises. With sufficient evidence, they can present their findings to the government and introduce better meals and healthier options for the population.

4. Understand Where Anxiety Disorders Stem From

Anxiety disorders are vastly different from regular stress and panic. These conditions are mental disorders that involve excessive fear, paranoia. They can even make the patient act aggressively. Anxiety disorders need addressing. If a person within a family has it, they control the family dynamics. They can cause the family to cater to their needs completely, push them into social isolation, or reject their family entirely, causing friction in the system. When people’s health experts find the cause of the anxiety, such as genetics, they are due to lasting trauma. They can administer proper help. A genetic disease has a different treatment method than diseases borne from circumstances. Suppose members of the same community live in the same neighborhood. In that case, it can help public health experts decide how many of them have an anxiety disorder in their DNA and help them.

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5. Exploring Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a massive issue in many societies. It causes discrepancies within the community, such as an outbreak of HIV, increased criminal activity, violence, and even domestic abuse. Excessive usage of alcohol and drugs comes under substance abuse. Alcohol has long-term effects on the liver, such as causing cirrhosis which may lead to liver failure. It even impacts the brain, causing it to shrink in size. The immediate effects of alcohol are impaired judgment and lack of inhibition. Due to these, a person may get into an accident, kill themselves, or go into an alcoholic stupor and injure family members.

On the other hand, drugs have the same effect, except they can cause diseases due to using drugs by sharing needles. If the user happens to be pregnant, they may put their fetus’s life at risk, and either causes a miscarriage or have a stillborn baby. Public health experts try to explain the cause and effect of substance abuse. From why do people start and how it becomes detrimental over time. It can help them set up emergency clinics and rehab centers when necessary. It may also help the government curb the drug crisis.

Wrap Up

Behavioral science is an integral aspect of public health. It helps experts explain and understand the many causes of public health crises in society. These include how trauma, substance abuse, societal and cultural influences play a hand in the way people behave. As a result, it guides public health experts on how they can help the community elevate from their standpoint. By building more hospitals, rehab centers, and care facilities to help people recover and give them the support they need. It is not logical to expect people to uphold societal values and provide for the family if they can’t help themselves out of their current public health crises.

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