Health Education at the Individual Level
Gerjo Kok Harm J. Hospers Dirk-Jan den Boer Hein de Vries University of Limburg-Maastricht
In this chapter, we discuss health education as a strategy for the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases. We focus specifically on health education at the individual level (other chapters of this book describe health education at other levels). First, the concept of health education is defined within the broader context of health promotion and prevention. Second, a model is presented on systematic planning and evaluation of health education. Third, psychosocial determinants of health behavior are described, based on social-psychological theories. Fourth, a transtheoretical model of stages of behavior change is presented, illustrated with examples of "tailored" messages. Fifth, we elaborate on health education programs based on attribution theory and relapse-prevention theory because these programs are specific examples of applications for health education at the individual level. Sixth, we focus on systematic large-scale implementation of health education interventions. Finally, conclusions are drawn.
Green and Kreuter ( 1) defined health education as any planned combination of learning experiences designed to predispose, enable, and reinforce voluntary behavior conducive to health in individuals, groups, or communities. The same authors defined health promotion as any planned combination of educational, political, regulatory, and organizational supports for action and conditions of living conducive to health of individuals, groups, and communities. Health edu-