HomeHealth:  Explaining the Health Belief Model

Health Belief Model: Understanding It

Because health professionals are increasingly looking for ways to decrease the occurrence and severity of health problems, the Health Belief Model has become an important tool in motivating the public to engage in positive health behaviors. Although the concept (and its name) seems simple and self-explanatory, the model is actually based on a series of assumptions and concepts that, as a whole, create a motivational, health-related framework. The key to understanding the model and the reason for its documented success lies in a thorough examination of its interlocking components.

History of the Health Belief Model

The Health Belief Model was first developed in the 1950s, and its use has continued to grow since its inception. It has been used effectively to deal with public health issues, such as condom use, seat belt use, medical compliance, and health screening. The foundation of the model is the assumption or belief that three criteria primarily affect whether or not a person will take a health-related action. These three criteria are thinking that a negative health consequence can be avoided, expecting that a recommended health behavior will prevent the negative consequence, and believing that it is possible to do the recommended action.

The key emphasis of the model seems to be on motivating the public to follow recommended health behaviors, which will therefore prevent negative health consequences and improve overall public health. Avoiding a negative health consequence is absolutely central to the functioning of the model; it will not work, for example, in situations where there is no negative consequence but only positive ones. Over the years that the model has been in use, there have been many documented studies that attest to its effectiveness and success. It continues to undergo development and adaptation in order to deal with arising health concerns and current issues. It seems that the only instance where the model would be ineffective is when a person is neither concerned about nor afraid of the negative health consequences.

Health Articles

More Health Info