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Health lifestyles in Russia and the socialist heritage


Cockerham, William C.; Snead, M. Christine; & Dewaal, Derek F. (2002). Health lifestyles in Russia and the socialist heritage. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43(1), 42-55.


This study examines the relationship between socialist ideology and the current negative health lifestyles of the Russian population. We explore the possibility that Soviet-style socialism with its negation of individuality and individual initiative in health matters promoted the development of a passive orientation toward healthy living. Using a national sample, we compare the health practices of those Russians who wish to return to socialism as it was before Gorbachev to those of Russians who favor staying with the present political and economic course or adopting other reforms. If a socialist ideology has indeed fostered a lack of responsibility for individual health promotion in Russia today, those persons wishing to return to socialism would be less likely to adopt a positive health lifestyle. Our data show that this is indeed the case, as pro-socialist respondents demonstrate less activity toward achieving health than antisocialists--although neither group collectively practices a healthy way of life.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Health and Social Behavior


Cockerham, William C.
Snead, M. Christine
Dewaal, Derek F.