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Changing Health Behaviors Stages of Readiness

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Changing Health Behaviors Stages of Readiness
412
Chapter 10 Health, Stress, and Coping
As described in the chapter on thought,
language, and intelligence, humans tend
to underestimate the likelihood of common outcomes and to overestimate the
likelihood of rare events. When this tendency causes people to ignore the dangers of smoking and other health-risky
behaviors, the results can be disastrous.
© Reprinted by permission, Steve Kelley, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans.
According to this health-belief model, the people most likely to quit smoking would
be those who believe that they are at risk for getting cancer from smoking, that cancer
is serious and life threatening, and that the benefits of reducing cancer risks are greater
than the costs of quitting (McCaul et al., 2006).
Other cognitive factors are emphasized in other health-belief models. For example, people generally do not try to quit smoking unless they believe they can succeed. So self-efficacy, the belief that you are able to perform some behavior, is an
additional consideration in making decisions about health behaviors (Armitage,
2005; Bandura, 1992; Dijkstra, DeVries, & Bakker, 1996). A related factor is the
intention to engage in a healthy behavior (Albarracin et al., 2001; Schwarzer, 2001;
Webb & Sheeran, 2006).
Health-belief models have been useful in predicting a variety of health behaviors,
including exercise (McAuley, 1992), safe-sex practices (Fisher, Fisher, & Rye, 1995),
adherence to doctors’ orders (Bond, Aiken, & Somerville, 1992), and having routine
mammogram tests for breast cancer (Champion & Huster, 1995).
Changing Health Behaviors: Stages of Readiness
Changing health-related behaviors depends not only on a person’s health beliefs but
also on that person’s readiness to change. According to James Prochaska and his colleagues, successful change occurs in five stages (Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross,
1992; Schumann et al., 2005):
1. Precontemplation. The person does not perceive a health-related problem and
has no intention of changing anytime soon.
TA B L E
10.4
Steps for Coping with Stress
Many successful programs for systematically
coping with stress guide people through
several steps and are aimed at removing
stressors that can be changed and at
reducing responses to stressors that cannot
be changed (Taylor, 2002).
Step
Task
1. Assessment
Identify the sources and effects of stress.
2. Goal setting
List the stressors and stress responses to be addressed.
Designate which stressors are and are not changeable.
3. Planning
List the specific steps to be taken to cope with stress.
4. Action
Implement coping plans.
5. Evaluation
Determine the changes in stressors and stress responses
that have occurred as a result of coping methods.
6. Adjustment
Alter coping methods to improve results, if necessary.
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