Creating Positive Health: It is More Than Risk Reduction

White paper written by Craig Becker and William McPeck and sponsored by the National Wellness Institute

Abstract: Instead of aiming for a return to the status quo, a focus on positive health would move us beyond the status quo toward outcomes that exceed expectations. While risk reduction and health maintenance are noble, it is time to move the focus and efforts toward positive health potential through improved physical, mental, and social capabilities.

It’s time to make the profession of health about health

SJPH 2012 – Make Hlth about Hlth

Abstract: Most professional health publications and presentations are not about health, but about how to avoid, prevent, or treat disease or infirmity. Better health cannot be attained by simply avoiding, preventing, or treating problems. Health efforts, therefore, should be directed toward creating physical, mental, and social wellbeing. To guide these efforts, salutogenesis, a theoretical framework about the origins or creation of health, is needed to complement the traditional pathogenesis framework that focuses on the origins and causes of disease. Salutogenic strategies are necessary to help health professionals promote positive health enhancement by making their practices about health.

Salutogenesis 30 Years Later:Where do we go from here?

Craig M. Becker, PhD1; Mary Alice Glascoff, EdD2; W. Michael Felts, PhD

Submitted November 25, 2009; Revised and Accepted March 30, 2010

Abstract: In 1979 Aaron Antonovsky introduced the concept of salutogenesis as the study of health development. This approach contrasted with the concept of pathogenesis or the study of disease development. Pathogenesis works retrospectively from disease to determine how individuals can avoid, manage, and/or eliminate that disease. Salutogenesis works prospectively by considering how to create, enhance, and improve physical, mental, and social well-being. Salutogenesis provides a framework for researchers and practitioners to help individuals, organizations, and society move toward optimal well-being. This article reviews the development and benefits of the salutogenic approach to health, how it complements pathogenesis, and suggests how to use the salutogenic model to develop a science for positive health. The article also suggests using salutogenesis as a basis for the new health care system in America.


Intellectual Contributions:

  1. Shores, K., Becker, C. M., Moynahan, R., Williams, R., & Cooper, N. (2015).  The Relationship of Youth Adults’ Health and Their Sports Participation. Journal of Sport Behavior, 38(3), 306-320.
  2. Becker, C. M., Chaney, E., Shores, K., & Glascoff, M. (2015).  The Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale for Older Adults (SWPS-OA). American Journal of Health Education, 46, 293-300.
  3. Becker, C. M., Glascoff, M., Felts, W. M., & Kent, C. (2015).  Adapting & Using Quality Management Methods to Improve Health Promotion. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing, 11(3), 222-228.
  4. Becker, C. M. & Glascoff, M. A. (2014).  Process Measures: A Leadership Tool for Management.   TQM Journal, The, 26 (1), 50-62.
  5. Becker, C. M., Ayscue, E., Brockett, S. J., Scarola, G., & Kelley, T. (2014). Initiating Sustainable Behavior: Feel Good for Doing Good. Electronic Green Journal, 1(37), 1-12.
  6. Becker, C. M. & McPeck, W. (2014).  Should You Even Bother With Worksite Wellness Today?   Worksite Health International.   [Editor reviewed]
  7. Anderson, L. M., Moore, J. B., Hayden, B. M., & Becker, C. M. (2014).  Test-retest reliability of the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). Health Education Research, 73 (1), 101-108.
  8. McPeck, W. & Becker, C. M. (2014).  To Create Better Outcomes: Engagement & Empowerment is Not Enough. Worksite Health International, 5 (1), 5-8. [Editor reviewed]
  9. Al Hadid, L. A., Becker, C. M., Mansour-Hamdan, A., Al-Shuaibi, J., Tharwat, H., Glasscoff, Mary (2013).  Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale: Validation of the Arabic Version.   American Journal of Health Education, 44 (4), 229-234.
  10. Becker, C. M., Rager, R. C., & Wright, F. E. (2013).  Update on Validity of Required Competencies for Worksite Health Professionals. American Journal of Health Education, 44 (2), 67-73.
  11. Becker, C. M. & Rhynders, P. (2013).  It’s Time to Make the Profession of Health about Health.   Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 41 (1), 1-3.
  12. Decker, J., Ronay, A., Telfer, M., Becker, C. M., Cremeens, J., Swinker, Marian (2012).  An Evaluation of a Medical School Smoking Policy: A Student Research Project.  Health Educator, The, 44 (2), 29-34.
  13. Johnson, H. & Becker, C. M. (2011).  Health-Related Services Provided by Public Health Educators.  Health Promotion Practice, 12 (5), 723-733.
  14. Amerando, C., Becker, C. M., & Johnson, H. (2010).  An Evaluation of a University-Based Smoking Policy: A Student Research Project.   American Journal of Health Studies, 25 (2), 111-116.
  15. Becker, C. M., Glascoff, M. A., & Felts, W. M. (2010).  Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?   International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 13, 25-32.
  16. Becker, C. M. & Glascoff, M. (2010).  Quality Improvement Equals Health Improvement: Using Successful Business Strategies for Health Promotion.   International Association for Worksite Health Promotion (IAWHP), 1 (1), 3.   [Editor reviewed]
  17. Vail-Smith, K., Felts, W. M., & Becker, C. M. (2009).  Relationship between sleep quality and health risk behaviors in undergraduate college students.   College Student Journal, 43 (3), 924-930.
  18. Becker, C. M., Moore, J., Whetstone, L., Glascoff, M., Chaney, E., Felts, M., & Anderson, L. (2009).  Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS).   American Journal of Health Behavior, 33 (4), 455-465.
  19. Becker, C. M., Cooper, N., Atkins, K., & Martin, S. (2009).  What Helps Students Thrive? An Investigation of Student Engagement and Student Performance. Recreational Sports Journal, 33(2), 139-149.
  20. Johnson, H., Becker, C. M., Inman, L., Webb, K., & Brady, C. (2009).  Why be Smoke-Free? A Qualitative Study of Smoke-Free Restaurant Owners and Manager Opinions. Health Promotion Practice, 11 (1), 89-94.
  21. Becker, C. M., Johnson, H., Tavasso, D., Vail-Smith, K., Maahs-Fladung, C., B. Elmore; C. Blumell (2008).  Making Health Happen on Campus.  Journal of General Education, The, 57 (2), 67-74.
  22. Becker, C. M., Adams, T. B., Orr, C. A., & Quilter, L. (2008).  Correlates of Quality Sleep and Academic Performance. Health Educator, The, 40 (2), 82-89.
  23. Becker, C. M., Whetstone, L., Glascoff, M., & Moore, J. (2008).  Evaluation of the Reliability and Validity of an Adult Version of the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS).   American Journal of Health Education, 39 (6), 322-328.
  24. Becker, C. M., Dolbier, C. L., Durham, T., Glascoff, M. A., & Adams, T. B. (2008).  Development and Preliminary Evaluation of the Validity and Reliability of a Positive Health Scale.   American Journal of Health Education, 39 (1), 34-41.
  25. Becker, C. M., Johnson, H., Warren, K., & Barber, T. (2007).  Diabetes Prevention: A Role for Health Education on Campus.   North Carolina Journal, 43 (1), 9-13.
  26. Becker, C. M., Glascoff, M. A., Mitchell, T., Durham, T., & Arnold, W. (2007).  Assessing Perceived Health and Associated Health Promoting Behaviors: An Investigation of Methods used to Assess Health Status.   Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37 (2), 227-242.
  27. Becker, C. M., Johnson, H., McNeil, M. P., & Warren, K. (2006).  Creating Partnerships on Campus to Facilitate Practical Experiences.   College Quarterly, 9 (3).
  28. Becker, C. M. & Glascoff, M. (2005).  Linking lessons to professional applications: A technique to improve student preparation and engagement with subject materials.   American Journal of Health Education, 36 (1), 51-53.
  29. Becker, C. & Loy, M. (2004).  Important Competencies for Future Health and Wellness Professionals: An Investigation of Employer Desired Skills.   American Journal of Health Education, 35(4), 228-233.
  30. Becker, C. M. & Arnold, W. (2004).  Health Promoting Behaviors of Older Americans versus Young and Middle Aged Adults.   Educational Gerontology, 30, 835-844.
  31. Becker, C., McMahan, S., Allen, D., & Nelson, J. R. (2004).  The Usability and Effectiveness of a Self-Management Intervention.   American Journal of Health Studies, 19 (2), 110-114.
  32. Becker, C. M., McMahan, S., Allen, D., & Nelson, J. R. (2002).  The potency of health promotion versus disease prevention messages in a college population.   American Journal of Health Studies, 18 (1), 26-30.

Refereed Proceedings  

Full Paper 

  1. Becker, C. M. & Glascoff, M. (2013).  Creating Triple Wins with Deming’s Methods.   19th Annual Deming Research Seminar.
  2. Becker, C. M. & Glascoff, M. A. (2012).  Problem Solving is Not the Solution – Improvement Is.   18th Annual Deming Research Seminar.
  3. Becker, C. M. (2011).  Using Measures to Drive Success.   The 17th Annual International Deming Research Seminar.
  4. Arnold, W. & Becker, C. M. (2001).  Chronic disease, perceived health, and life satisfaction of older adults.   Proceedings for the British Society of Gerontology, 30 (1), 134-137.
  5. Becker, C. M. (1994).  Wellness in the built environment.   Recycling Review, 2 (4), Arizona State University, 8-9.

Non-Refereed Articles  

  1. Becker, C. M. & McPeck, W. (2013).  Creating Positive Health: It is More than Risk Reduction.   Wellness Management. Access at:
  2. Becker, C. M. (2012).  Response: How Should We Define Health?   BMJ (343).
  3. Becker, C. M. (2007).  Salutogenesis: A Guide for Wellness Programs in the 21st Century.   Wellness Management, 21 (1), 1-3.
  4. Becker, C. M. (2005).  Effective Teaching Strategies to Prepare Health & Wellness Professionals.   Wellness Management, 20 (3).

Abstracts Only 

Becker, C. M. (2010).  Using Deming Methods to Transform Health Promotion.   The Sixteenth Annual International Deming Research Seminar, New York, NY: Deming Cooperative: Fordham University.

Becker, C. M., Durham, T., & Maahs-Fladung, C. (2006).  A Multidimensional Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale: Development and Psychometric Properties.   American Psychological Association Conference.

Becker, C. (2005).  An Analysis of the Relationship of Perceived Health and Associated Health Promoting Behaviors of Healthy People.   The North Carolina Journal, 41, 24-25.

Becker, C. (2004).  Desired Skills of Future Health Professionals.  The North Carolina Journal, 40, 23.

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