Psychological Research on Lifestyle


The lifestyle is the set of habits that govern how one spends time, energy and money. Those habits include how you work, exercise, learn, rest, spend time with friends, spend the evenings and weekends and generally engage with life. In addition, the lifestyle can also influence your mental and physical health. A healthy lifestyle includes good nutrition, regular exercise and enough sleep. It also entails not smoking, not drinking to excess and engaging in activities that reduce stress.

Psychological research on the lifestyle has developed in different directions, depending on the ambitions and methodological approaches of the researchers involved. A major concern is how the concept of lifestyle can be applied in psychologically meaningful ways and whether it has potential for being used as a therapeutic tool.

In the field of sociology, research on lifestyle was influenced by the concepts and theories of Max Weber and Sigmund Freud. The main distinguishing feature of these theories is their internal dimension: the emphasis on behaviour and daily practices, interpreted as a sign of belonging to particular social groups. The principal limit of these theories is the lack of clarity about how and why lifestyles form and change over time.

Another line of research was based on the concept of values, attitudes and interests, introduced by Rokeach in 1960. This approach considered each person as having a few hierarchically ordered values, with the central values being those of personal integrity and dignity. The other values were oriented towards achieving material wealth, prestige and success. The value system tended to be stable over time.

The lifestyle has become a very important concept in recent years, as it influences people’s quality of life and has significant implications for the economy. Increasingly, the importance of lifestyles has been recognised in areas such as business, politics and education.

A largely scientific perspective on the lifestyle is represented by the work of epidemiologists and health psychologists. In the area of epidemiology, lifestyle is defined as a pattern of behaviour that is associated with the risk of disease (e.g., use of recreational drugs, alcohol and smoking). Health psychology research on the lifestyle focuses on risk behaviours such as those that contribute to poor health, e.g., over-nutrition and lack of physical activity.

A common problem with these perspectives is that they focus exclusively on risk behaviours and do not consider the causes of such behaviours. In addition, these perspectives are often based on individual models and do not take into account the collective nature of lifestyles or how they interact with one another. The latter requires a more holistic and multidisciplinary approach to understanding the lifestyle. Moreover, there is an urgent need to develop better methods for analysing and measuring the complexity of lifestyles. This would allow for the development of more effective intervention strategies to promote healthier lifestyles. A more holistic approach is also needed to understand how the lifestyle can be promoted in a society that is characterised by consumerism and rapid changes in consumer culture.