Psychology OCR- G543-JUNE 2010Watch
Describe the Health Belief Model as a theory of Health Belief 
The health belief model (HBM) is a cognitive model which identifies factors that indicate the possibility of an individual adopting health behaviour by looking at the beliefs and attitudes of individuals.
The HBM consists of many components: perceived seriousness and perceived susceptibility, which explains how serious an illness or lifestyle behaviour is, and how likely an individual is to get the illness. If an individual perceives an illness to be serious and are aware that they are susceptible to it, the threat posed to them will increase. This leads to perception and modifying factors, which include internal/external cues and demographic variables (i.e. age and sex). These perception and modifying factors will influence the extent to which an individual will adopt a health behaviour.
The model was originally proposed by Becker (1978). The aim of Becker’s study was to use the Health Belief Model to explain mothers adherence to a drug regimen for their asthmatic children. Becker’s study consisted of 111 mothers, aged between 17-54 years, and their respective children, aged between 9 months and 17 years. The mothers would be responsible for administering the asthma medication, to their children. Becker used a correlational method, looking at the relationship between beliefs reported during interviews and compliance with self-reported administration of asthma medication. Aside from this, Becker had conducted a blood test (physiological measure), on a small few of his participants, which tested the levels of medication in the blood. Each mother, in Becker’s study, was interviewed for 45 minutes and asked questions in relation to their perception of their child’s susceptibility, beliefs on the seriousness of asthma, extent to which asthmas interfered with the child’s education and the mothers own activities.
Becker discovered a positive correlation between mothers belief in her child’s susceptibility and her compliance with a medical regimen. There was also a positive correlation found between a mother’s perception of her child having a serious asthma condition and her compliance with a medical regimen. Becker found that demographic variables that correlated with compliance were education and marital status.
Furthermore, this piece of research, by Becker, shows that the HBM is a useful model to predict and explain different levels of compliance with medical regimens.
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