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Seeking Health Care Chapter three lifestyle 50% of the deaths of the ten leading causes of death in this country are due to modifiable lifestyle factors Health habit Health related behavior that is firmly established and often performed automatically without awareness

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Seeking Health Care

Chapter three

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  • 50% of the deaths of the ten leading causes of death in this country are due to modifiable lifestyle factors

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Health habit

  • Health related behavior that is firmly established and often performed automatically without awareness

  • Can be highly resistant to change as they can become independent of reinforcement

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Who seeks out health care?

  • Demographics

  • Age

  • Values

  • Personal control (locus of control)

  • Social influence

  • Personal goals

  • Perceived symptoms

  • Access to health care

  • Cognitive factors

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  • If people are fearful they will change behavior to reduce fear

  • Not always true:

  • Too much may undermine behavior

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Self Efficacy and Health Behaviors

  • The ability to initiate and follow through with change

  • Not only , can my actions help, but will I do it

  • Locus of control not the same thing

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Self efficacy

  • Locus of control: if I changed would my health improve?

  • Self efficacy: am I likely to change my behavior and attain my goal?

  • Not only do I have the skills but can I coordinate the skills in the proper sequence to meet the goal?

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Self efficacy and skills

  • Higher SE and fewer skills may be more likely to persist and learn new skills

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Self Efficacy involves:

  • Execution of behaviors and behavioral attainment

  • Perceived strength of ability to regulate

    • Thought processes

    • Affective states

    • Social and physical environment

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Powerful predictor:

  • Kinds of activities people do

  • How long and intensively they persist

  • The amount of distress and satisfaction in face of opportunities, challenges and hardships

  • Exercise: a challenge to be mastered or something to fail at?

  • avoidance

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Self Efficacy and Goals

  • What goals we set ( how high, how low)

  • Persistence when discrepancy between behavior and goals

  • Problem solving choices

  • Decision to enter or avoid goal relevant situations

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Health Belief model

  • Is there a personal threat?

  • The perception that a particular behavior will reduce this threat

  • Behavior as a result of intention

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Health Belief model: predicting behavior

Perceived susceptibility to disease or disability


Perceived benefits of behavior

Barriers to health-enhancing behavior

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Irrational Health Belief Scale

  • Unrealistic optimism

  • Irrational beliefs

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Theory of Reasoned Action

  • Assumes human are quite rational

  • Intention to act shaped by one’s attitude about behavior and

  • Perceived social norms and motivation to comply

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Theory of Planned Behavior

  • Adds perception of control over one’s actions

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Precaution Adoption Model

  • Optimistic bias: others are susceptible but I’m not

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Models don’t explain it all

  • Poverty

  • Racism

  • Ethnic background

  • Public policy

  • Legislation

  • Lack of medical and health information

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How we determine our health status

  • Social and cultural background

  • Interpretation of symptoms

  • Conception of what determines illness

  • Illness behavior: feel sick but not yet diagnosed

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Illness behavior

  • Personal factors:

    • How you view your body

    • Level of stress

    • Personality traits

  • Gender:

    • Women more sensitive to their bodies & more likely to report non life threatening conditions

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Illness behavior

  • Gender

    • Men more likely to attribute minor symptoms to major problems

    • Men tend to report only life threatening situations

  • Age

    • Young, middle-aged less likely to check out symptoms; elderly: disease or aging?

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Illness behavior

  • Socioeconomic and cultural factor

    • Access to care

  • Symptom characteristics

    • Most likely to seek care:

      • Symptoms are visible

      • View symptoms as severe

      • Interfere with lifestyle

      • Recur or persist

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Illness behavior: how disease is conceptualized

  • Need to label symptoms

  • With label (diagnosis) comes timeline

  • Attribution lowers anxiety

  • Think about consequences

  • When we feel sense of control of disease process more likely to seek health care