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Behavioral Change Theories in Health Care Delivery

  • By: Claudio R. Nigg & Patricia J. Jordan
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Describing and understanding behavior is not the same as changing it. Behavior theories identify why a behavior exists; behavior change theories explain why and how change happens. It is behavior change theory that guides the development of successful change interventions.

Why Should Physicians Deliver Health Behavior Change Strategies?

Changing health behavior is a pivotal role of the health care professional. In addition to having contact with patients at “teachable moments,” health care professionals often hold the role of trusted counselor or health mentor for many of their patients. The majority of illnesses today are largely preventable or amendable with health behavior change strategies. Long-term health begins with lifestyle behaviors, and research has found that many of these behaviors share similar patterns of change.

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