Behaviour Change Theories

Some of many theories of behaviour change. Can you relate to any?

Protection Motivation Theory (Rogers, 1983)

Protection Motivation Theory proposes that behaviour is motivated by four factors: the perceived severity of a threatening event; the perceived probability of the occurrence, or vulnerability; the efficacy of the recommended preventive behavior; and self-efficacy. These four factors are comprised within threat appraisal (how serious the situation is) and coping appraisal (how one responds to the situation), both of which motivate health-related action or inaction.

Information-Motivation-Behavioural Skills Model (Fisher and Fisher, 2000)

The Information-Motivation-Behavioural Skills Model focuses on three components that result in behaviour change: information, motivation and behaviour skills. Information relates to the basic knowledge about a medical condition, and is an essential prerequisite for behaviour change. A favourable intervention would establish the baseline levels of information, and target gaps in information. Motivation results from personal attitudes towards adherence, perceived social support, and the patients’ subjective norm or perception of how others with the condition might behave. Behavioural skills include factors such as ensuring that the patient has the skills, tools and strategies to perform the behaviour.

Health Belief Model (Glanz et al., 2002)

The Health Belief Model purports that health behaviours are motivated by health beliefs. The model was designed to predict a person’s health behaviour, including the use of health services, and to justify intervention to alter maladaptive health behaviour. Components of the model include the person’s own perception of susceptibility to a disease or condition, the perceived likelihood of getting that disease or condition, the perceived severity of the consequences of getting the condition or the disease, the perceived benefits of care and barriers to preventive behaviour, and the internal or external stimuli that result in appropriate health behaviour by the person.

Diffusion of Innovations Theory (Rogers, 2003)

Diffusion of Innovation Theory highlights the dissemination of new ideas and adoption by people in a systematic manner. The theory is thus viewed as an effective tool for social change. Communication channels serve as the link between those who have the know-how of the innovation and those who have not yet adopted it. The innovation-decision process is a five step process: (1) gaining knowledge about the innovation; (2) becoming persuaded about the innovation; (3) decision of adopting or rejecting the innovation; (4) implementation step of putting the innovation to use; and (5) confirmation of either reversing the decision or adopting the new innovation.  In terms of health, innovation might be in terms of a new behaviour change theory or model of training professionals.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (de Shazer et al., 1986)

Solution-focused brief therapy is an approach to psychotherapy based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. It explores current resources and future hopes rather than present problems and past causes.

Self-Regulatory Model (Leventhal et al., 2003)

The Self-Regulatory Model describes how an individual identifies deteriorating health status and the action taken to achieve improved health. There are three stages in this model: 1) Interpretation of health threat – cognitive representation such as: symptoms, social messages, cues and possible consequences; 2)  An action plan or coping strategy – seeking medical attention, self-prescribing, avoidance; and 3) Appraisal – an evaluation of the success of coping strategies or actions, and reflecting on the need for modifications.

Social Network Therapy

Social Network Therapy takes into consideration the wider context of the individual. In doing this, significant people in the person’s life are assembled in an effort to support the process of behaviour change.



Categories: Psychology

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