About Health Behavior and Health Education

* From the Preface

Programs to influence health behavior, including health promotion and education programs and interventions, are most likely to benefit participants and communities when the program or intervention is guided by a theory of health behavior. Theories of health behavior identify the targets for change and the methods for accomplishing these changes. Theories also inform the evaluation of change efforts by helping to identify the outcomes to be measured, as well as the timing and methods of study to be used. Such theory-driven health promotion and education efforts stand in contrast to programs based primarily on precedent, tradition, intuition, or general principles.

Theory-driven health behavior change interventions and programs require an understanding of the components of health behavior theory, as well as the operational or practical forms of the theory. The first edition of Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice, published in 1990, was the first text to provide an in-depth analysis of a variety of theories of health behavior relevant to health education in a single volume. It brought together dominant health behavior theories, research based on those theories, and examples of health education practice derived from theory that had been tested through evaluation and research. The second (1996) and third (2002) editions of Health Behavior and Health Education updated and improved upon the earlier volume. People around the world are using this book and it has been translated into multiple languages, including recent Japanese and Korean editions.

The fourth edition of Health Behavior and Health Education once again updates and improves on the preceding edition. Its main purpose is the same: to advance the science and practice of health behavior and health education through the informed application of theories of health behavior. Likewise, this book serves as the definitive text for students, practitioners, and scientists in these areas and education in three ways: by analyzing the key components of theories of health behavior relevant to health education; by evaluating current applications of these theories in selected health promotion programs and interventions; and by identifying important future directions for research and practice in health promotion and health education.

The fourth edition responds to new developments in health behavior theory and the application of theory in new settings, to new populations, and in new ways. This edition includes an enhanced focus on the application of theories in diverse populations and settings; an expanded section on using theory, including its translation for program planning; and chapters on additional theories of health behavior. More global applications from both developing and developed countries are included. As new communication and information technologies have opened up an unprecedented range of strategies for health behavior change, this edition integrates coverage of e-health into health communications examples throughout the book. Issues of culture and health disparities are also integrated into many chapters, rather than covered as a separate chapter. These issues are of broad and growing importance across many theories and models.