Objectives: To measure student nurses' attitudes toward health and identify the influence of demographic characteristics and psychological wellbeing on these attitudes. Design: A cross-sectiol survey between April and June 2006. Setting: An Australian University in South-East Queensland. Subjects: 369 students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing, Pre-Registration Program. Main outcome measures: Attitudes to health, measured by the Health Attitude Scale-form B and psychological wellbeing, measured by the General Health Questionire-28. Results:Student nurses were generally positive in their 'feelings', 'beliefs' and 'intentions' towards health behaviour. There was a significant difference in 'feelings' towards health by year of BN program (F(2,336) = 3.128, p<0.05), with respondents becoming more positive as they progressed through their study. Those not in employment had more positive 'feelings' towards health than those in employment (F(1,366) = 5.642, p<0.05) and the better reported psychological health, the more positive the 'feelings' (F(2,366) = 3.862, p<0.05). Older age groups reported more positive health 'beliefs' (F(3,350) = 4.414, p<0.01) and 'intentions to act' (F(3,350) = 2.986, p<0.05). Males were more positive than females in their health 'beliefs' (F(1,337) = 4.246, p<0.05). Conclusions: Individual characteristics influenced student nurses' attitudes towards health and measurement which incorporates 'feelings', 'beliefs' and 'intentions to act' as components of health attitudes provide a clearer picture of where these influences lie. Further research is advocated to replicate these findings in a broader sample and determine their implications in the design of primary prevention strategies.
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