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Discuss Theoretical Approaches to Beliefs About Health

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By mandms706
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Discuss theoretical approaches to beliefs about health (15 marks)

The Health Belief Model (HBM) is used extensively by health professionals to predict the adoption of healthy behaviours, e.g. taking up of vaccinations (and to target health promotion of those at risk). It explains individual differences in health behaviours due to knowledge, age, sex, lifestyle through the ‘demographic variables’ element of the HBM. Also allows for psychological factors which affect adoption of healthy behaviours to be considered, not just the physical elements. It may lead health workers to think they can predict health behaviour, even though they often can’t partly because, it’s almost impossible to measure a lot of the psychological factors which influence behaviour (e.g. the amount of fear or distrust a patient may have) because the model is cognitive.
Although small consideration is to other peoles belliefs (Cues to action- advice fromothers or of a family/friend has had the disease) it primarily considers individual beliefs. It doesn’t include the influence of other people who can be very important.
When the model is applied, health workers know that if only the individual patient wants to take action and important others are opposed, there is little chance of change.
The Locus of Control theory by Rotter only divides people into two distinct categories – surely not all ‘internalisers’ are healthy and all externalisers are unhealthy? It is huglet reductionist and therefore, fails to explain individual differences in health behaviours due to knowledge, age, sex, lifestyle etc. However, there is lots of empirical research evidence to support the theory.
Self-Efficacy offers an dispositional explanation, suggesting that individuals are responsible for making their own health decisions. It is useful as it also suggests that health behaviours can be changed, if an...

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