Changing Health Behaviour: Intervention and Research with Social Cognition Models

Changing Health Behaviour: Intervention and Research with Social Cognition Models

Changing Health Behaviour: Intervention and Research with Social Cognition Models

Changing Health Behaviour: Intervention and Research with Social Cognition Models

Synopsis

• Can theory-driven interventions using social cognition models change health behaviour?

• How should theoretical models be adapted for intervention?

• What are the implications for policy and practice?

For many years, social cognition models have been at the forefront of research into predicting and explaining health behaviours. Until recently, there have been few attempts to go beyond prediction and understanding to intervention - but now the position has changed, and a number of excellent interventions have been set up. The purpose of this book is to bring them together in one volume.

After an introductory chapter on the models and interventions to be included, there are nine chapters that each address a particular behaviour or set of behaviours, written by the authors of the interventions themselves. Chapters 2 to 4 examine risk-related behaviours (safer-sex; smoking; exposure to radon gas); Chapters 5 to 7 turn to health-enhancing behaviours and screening (reducing fat intake; uptake of vitamin C; breast self-examination; participation in cervical and colorectal cancer screening); and Chapters 8 to 10 explore road safety (speeding by drivers; pedestrian behaviour; and cycle helmet use). The chapters follow a common structure: a presentation of the 'epidemiological facts' about the behaviour and why an intervention was needed; an outline of the way in which the theoretical model being used was adapted for the intervention; a presentation of the experimental results; and a discussion of their theoretical and practical implications. The book ends with a chapter of commentary on the challenges of devising theory-based interventions.

Following on from the highly successful Predicting Health Behaviour edited by Mark Conner and Paul Norman, this book will be recognised as a ground-breaking text in the psychology of health, for students, researchers and practitioners alike.

Excerpt

Derek Rutter and Lyn Quine

1 Social cognition models

For many years, social psychological models have been at the forefront of research into predicting and explaining health behaviours. the most frequently used have been social cognition models. Until recently, however, there were few attempts to go beyond prediction and understanding to intervention – the systematic attempt to change people's health behaviours – but since the mid-1990s the position has changed, and there are now a number of very good, theory-driven, interventions in progress. As yet, so far as we know, there has been no attempt to bring the research together, and it is for that reason that we have produced this edited book. We have tried to include a representative cross-section of research, in that each chapter takes a particular health behaviour (sometimes more than one) and uses a particular theoretical model or framework to design and carry out the intervention. We hope that the book will appeal to academics, health professionals, and advanced students in psychology and health-related disciplines.

The starting point for the book is social cognition theory. Definitions of social cognition may vary, but the central tenet is that people's social behaviour is best understood by examining their beliefs about their behaviour in a social context, and their social perceptions and representations. Recognition of the term probably stems from the reconceptualization of social psychology that took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Social psychologists had struggled to demonstrate the links between attitudes and . . .

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