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The Health Belief Model and Prediction of Dietary Compliance: A Field Experiment

Marshall H. Becker, Lois A. Maiman, John P. Kirscht, Don P. Haefner and Robert H. Drachman
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 18, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 348-366
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2955344
Page Count: 19
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The Health Belief Model and Prediction of Dietary Compliance: A Field Experiment
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Abstract

In the context of a prospective experimental design, a psychosocial approach to understanding individual health-related actions (the Health Belief Model) was evaluated in terms of its ability to predict and explain mothers' adherence to a diet prescribed for their obese children. The study also tested the efficacy of two levels of fear-arousing communications in enhancing compliance with the regimen. After physician diagnosis and nutritionist counseling, an interview was conducted with each mother. Data were gathered on sociodemographic characteristics, and on attitudinal dimensions (general and obesity-specific) of the Model: health motivation; illness threat; potential diet benefits and success; barriers to compliance; and control over health matters. Subjects were then randomly assigned to three intervention groups: high fear, low fear, and control. Dependent variables included changes in child's weight over a two-month period and mother's previous appointment-keeping behaviors. Significant correlations were obtained between each major dimension of the Model and the outcome measures, and findings from multiple regression analyses support the usefulness of the Model as a whole. Further, ANOVA's revealed significant independent effects of the emotion-arousing messages on weight loss, and other tests found the influence of the intervention to be generally independent of belief affects.

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