Handbook of Health Psychology

By Andrew Baum; Tracey A. Revenson et al. | Go to book overview

1
Factors Influencing Behavior
and Behavior Change
Martin Fishbein
Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania
Harry C. Triandis
University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana
Frederick H Kanfer
University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana
Marshall Becker
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Susan E. Middlestadt
Academy for Educational Development
Anita Eichler
NIMH Office on AIDS

We are now nearing the end of the second decade of the AIDS epidemic. Although major advances in treatment have prolonged and improved the quality of life of those infected with HIV, there is still no cure for, or a vaccine to prevent, this deadly disease. Perhaps most important, it has become increasingly clear that primary prevention must focus on behavior and behavior change. AIDS is first and foremost a consequence of behavior. It is not who people are, but what people do that determines whether or not they expose themselves or others to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. As Kelly, Murphy, Sikkema, and Kalichman (1993) pointed out, the task confronting the behavioral sciences is to develop theory-based intervention programs to reduce “risky” behaviors and increase “healthy” behaviors.

In order to change behavior, however, it is first necessary to understand why people behave the way they do. The more that is known about the variables underlying a person's decision to perform or not to perform a given behavior, the more likely it is that successful behavioral intervention programs can be developed. Given the severity of the AIDS epidemic, it seemed appropriate to bring together the developers and/or leading proponents of five major behavioral theories in order to identify a finite set of variables to be considered in any behavioral analysis. To this end, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) organized a theorists workshop.

The participants at the workshop were Albert Bandura (social cognitive theory), Marshall Becker (health belief model), Martin Fishbein (reasoned action), Frederick Kanfer

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