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Integrating Social-psychological Frameworks for Health Behavior Research

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Objective: To review the social-cognitive theories that have predominated in research on determinants of health behaviors. Methods: Based on a literature search, the theories were compared and critically analyzed. Results: Although the theories are somewhat successful in predicting health behaviors, the social-cognitive perspective is restricted to a unidirectional, nondynamic view of behavioral change and neglects the fact that individuals may differ with respect to the life goals they pursue. Conclusion: Health behavior research should adopt a more integrative approach, including insights from stage and goal theories. The health behavior goal model is described as an example of such an approach.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Leiden University, Clinical and Health Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Publication date: November 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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