This debate paper traces the development of innovative methods for undertaking health promotion research with a socialecological orientation, with a few examples drawn from 30 years of research on adolescent health promotion research at the University of Bergen.
We aim to show how the social-ecological model is becoming more evident as a guide to research, using three cases that illustrate progress and potential. The first case is the Norwegian part of the European Network of Health Promoting Schools. The second case is a project just underway, The COMPLETE study, which is a community-led effort to promote students' mental health and create a good psychosocial learning environment. The third case is a developing idea for the next generation of social-ecological research on adolescent well-being, using an asset approach to foster social inclusion and sense of community in multiple settings.
The relationships between rural health care and community development were examined over time, for the case-study area of Huron and Perth counties in Southwestern Ontario. The underlying premises were that an historical-geographic study could provide both a perspective on the development of rural health services and explore the interdependent relationship between rural community and health care. The research concentrated on examinations of the 2 key elements of rural health care, namely the rural practitioner and the community hospital. Detailed reconstruction revealed that, over time, both physicians and hospitals moved from a marginal to a central position and identity within the community, in parallel with the stages of community development in the 19th and 20th centuries, with hospitals emerging as major foci of rural sustainability. In the last 2 decades, the strength of the area's rural community health system was successfully marshalled to offset the potentially negative aspects of provincial health care restructuring. This reinforced both the perception and the reality of the interdependence of health services and communities in the predominantly rural area.