The World Health Organization's Definition of Health: Social versus Spiritual Health
Social Indicators Research
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 1996
Pages: 181 - 192
Source ID: shanti-sources-114496
Collection: Social Connection and Well-being
Abstract: The World Health Organization formulated its definition of health following World War II, during a period when the social health of societies was in question. Since that definition in 1946, social scientists have dutifully followed its precepts and attempted to operationalize its concepts, including social well-being. But, American social scientists have found that psychosocial well-being may be a more accurate formulation of mental and social well-being, and they have questioned the reasonableness of a definition that requires complete health. It is proposed that scholars refine the WHO definition over the next several years, while at the same time creating bridges between a new conceptual definition and more detailed operational definitions. An expansion of the WHO definition may be necessary to include a spiritual dimension of health if social scientists can agree that spirituality is part of health and not merely an influence.