Theories and Models of Behavior Change

Behavior change theories and models can help physicians conceptualize the complex context in which individual behavior change occurs and the variability among patients' acceptance of behavior counseling interventions (Table 6-7). Insights gained from applying the models may help clinicians clarify barriers and opportunities when working with a given individual and customize an intervention based on an individual's needs, such as determining which patients may respond best to a more intensive intervention.

Table 6-7 Theories and Models of Individual Behavior Change

Most behavior change theories focus on the diverse, interacting levels of influence on an individual's behavior. For example, the stages of change (transtheoretical) model emphasizes that change is an ongoing process with multiple stages that often include relapse and recycling into new efforts to change. The concept of self-efficacy stresses that individual behavioral change requires the belief that change is needed and possible. Many theories recognize the dynamic interaction between intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental issues, including factors such as age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

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