Concept of health-related behaviour change
Various population categories are likely to suffer from health problems such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, heart-related problems, and other illnesses. Health behaviour change (HBC) is useful to such patients who fail to improve their health condition. The implication is that HBC refers to the attempt of the medical professionals, individuals, and the community to change health behavior of populations so that they are able to improve their health. Smoking, drug and alcohol consumption, overeating, unsafe sex, lack of physical exercises, and lack of appropriate medications are a few health-related behavior of individuals. There is a need to change the health behavior so that they do not suffer from ailments such as cancer and heart failures (Mason & Butler 2010, p. 2).
Individuals, who understand the need for the health behavior change, are able to contribute to improved public health. There are persons who understand this and take necessary action to maintain their health. On the other hand, a few individuals understand the need for behaviour change, but they fail to implement their ideas due to hindrances such as temptation to seek pleasure and lack of a disciplined life. At the same time, others fail to understand the need for change. It is the duty of medical professionals and the citizens to apprise individuals to accept the need for a change in their health behaviour (Martin et al 2010, p. 3).
The medical professionals need to understand that various factors may influence health behavior of an individual. Internal and external factors compel an individual or the community to exhibit a particular approach towards health behaviour. For example, wars, epidemics, and earthquakes can affect the public health. In such situations, the community is not able to control its health behaviour. Similarly, the community is helpless in the event of a major epidemic. On the other hand, there are internal developments, which can be controlled by the community. For example, members of a community may lead unhealthy lifestyle, which may affect the individuals in the long-term. Medical professionals should identify them and encourage them to change their health behaviour (Ramseier & Suvan 2010, p. 1).
HBC comprises various interventions. One method is to monitor behaviour of the patient and provide regular feedback so that patients are able to improve their health behaviour. The patients who obtain feedback are likely to understand the implications of their health behaviour. On the other hand, lack of feedback from medical professionals plays a major role in encouraging the patient to continue with the unhealthy behaviour. Interventions should aim to convince the patients concerning demerits of their behaviour (Kristin et al 2014, p. 315). For example, medical professionals who are able to monitor health behaviour of the patients and give feedback recommend Directly Observed Therapy (DOT). This therapy is effective in the case of adults and children who are prone to exhibit unhealthy behaviour. In the clinical setting, it is possible to observe their behaviour. Patients suffering from asthma benefited from this intervention (Kristin et al 2014, p. 316).
There are interventions that aim to enhance “self-efficacy” of individuals. There are various ways of achieving this objective. First, complex tasks can be divided into simpler tasks, thus enabling the person to gain confidence concerning his or her ability. Second, individuals can learn by observing others. Third, therapist convinces the patient concerning his or her abilities. Fourth, an attempt can be made to motivate people by encouraging them to understand their strengths and weaknesses (Hayden 2014, p. 14). Social cognitive theories are useful in providing relief to various population categories that exhibit similar behaviour. The advantage of these theories is that they assist the therapist to understand the behaviour of individuals belonging to different racial, ethnic, cultural, and social groups (Brennan et al 2014, p. 29).
Social cognitive theory assists researchers in understanding the rationale for the behaviour of individuals as members of the community. It provides information concerning the person and the community, and based on this information, it is possible to motivate the person to change his or her behaviour. At the same time, the person’s self-efficacy improves based on his or her perception concerning the attitude of the society towards one’s health behaviour (Brennan et al 2014, p. 49).
Brennan, L., Binney, W., Parker, L., Aleti, T. & Nguyen, D 2014, Social marketing and behaviour change: Models, theory and applications, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham.
Mason, P. & Butler, CC 2010, Health behavior change, Elsevier Health Sciences, London.
Hayden, J 2014, Health behavior theory, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington.
Martin, L.R., Haskard-Zolnierek, K.B. and DiMatteo, R 2010, Health behaviour change and treatment adherence, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Kristin, A.R., Ockene, J.K. & Pbert, L 2014, The handbook of health behavior change, Springer Publishing Company.
Ramseier, C. & Suvan, JE 2010, Health behaviour change in the dental practice, John Wiley & Sons, Ames.