Critiques of Model


  • There is a need for an updated systematic review of evidence supporting the HBM in research, the last major review was published in 1984!
  • Some constructs, such as perceived susceptibility and perceived barriers, were found to be more powerful predictors of behavior (in the 1984 review) than other constructs, such as perceived severity.
  • General weaknesses of HBM studies include variability in the measurement of the constructs.
  • It is important to use more than one construct (and ideally all of the constructs) when applying HBM. Most studies, however, do not measure all of the constructs.
  • Some constructs have been studied systematically, such as perceived severity and perceived susceptibility. Cues to action, however, have not been well-studied.
  • More studies are combining other health behavior theories with HBM, particularly where there are overlapping constructs (e.g. self-efficacy).
  • When measuring constructs, it is important to use scales that are valid and reliable.
  • There are several types of validity, such as content and construct validity. There are also different types of reliability. It is important to know what measures to use and how they are applied to ensure validity and reliability (see idea library and glossary).
  • The HBM has been used as a theoretical framework in many formative studies to understand what behavioral factors inhibit or promote health-seeking behaviors in sub-populations. However, a growing number of research articles report on application of the HBM to intervention development and evaluation.