The Definition of Lifestyle in Psychological and Sociological Research

Often, when discussing lifestyle in scientific research, it is associated with the individual behavioural component of choice, mainly focused on the avoidance or pursuit of risky behaviours. Although this is an important aspect, it is also worth considering other dimensions of lifestyle, such as identity, life span and psychological components. This is why this article reexamines the major explicit definitions of lifestyle in the psychological and sociological fields through three interpretative keys: internal, external, and temporal.

From the very beginning, the concept of lifestyle has been interpreted in different ways by researchers from various disciplines. Psychologists have tended to interpret it as a style of personality, while sociologists have considered it a system of values and attitudes influencing the individual’s choices and actions, as well as his or her position within the status group.

In the field of health psychology, a lifestyle is understood as a set of habits that influences the health status of an individual. However, this view overlooks the fact that the health status of an individual is influenced by multiple factors, including not only his or her behavioural choices but also his or her social environment and genetic predispositions. Therefore, to fully understand an individual’s health status, it is necessary to consider all of these aspects of lifestyle.

Throughout history, there have been many attempts to clarify the meaning of the term ‘lifestyle’ and to distinguish it from other concepts such as eating patterns or dietary habits. The resulting theories and research have varied greatly and largely overlap with those of other disciplines, making it difficult to establish a consensus on the definition of this concept.

The lifestyle concept is a very dynamic concept and has changed over time, reflecting the changes in society, culture, economics, and other factors. In addition, the definition has been affected by the evolution of the individual’s perception of his or her own health and wellness. For example, the idea of an unhealthy lifestyle has been replaced by the notion that a healthy lifestyle includes a balanced diet and exercise, both of which are associated with positive health outcomes.

Lifestyle has also been used as a marketing tool for certain products and services, including health insurance and fitness centres. This has influenced the way that people perceive health and wellbeing and has contributed to the current overuse of the term. It is, therefore, important that this concept be defined as simply as possible to facilitate the integration of a holistic approach into medical practice. This is especially the case in the context of health psychology. Ultimately, the definition of lifestyle should be based on what is beneficial for the individual and society. This will require a more sophisticated and rigorous method of analysis than has been the case to date.