Focusing on universal public health issues, this book explores what can be done and what the future holds. It introduces students and practitioners to behavior -change theories and applications. It details experiences of successful programs for the prevention and control of the world's biggest killers: malnutrition; respiratory infections; diarrhea; HIV//AIDS; and health problems arising from tobacco consumption and lack of access to family planning. The book explores health communication and social marketing strategies, learning theory, media advocacy, and community development. These behavior-change strategies are presented in terms of how the theory relates specifically to a particular health or disease issue.
Chapter 2: A Few Good Theories—and Behavioral Interventions that Work
A Few Good Theories—and Behavioral Interventions that Work
Kurt Lewin's axiom that there is nothing so useful as a good theory takes on a special meaning for public health behavior-change programs in developing countries. Indeed, public health's flagship discipline, epidemiology, has been faulted by McKinlay and Marceau (2000) for a lack of theory development: “Established epidemiology can actually explain very little, because in epidemiology, unlike most disciplines, there is little interest in developing theories that can be tested” (p. 26). Health psychology and other behavioral sciences, in contrast, judge interventions and other research on both (a) the amount of individual behavior change achieved and (b) the extent to which broader generalizations can be made to other behavior-change efforts ...