Chapter Three

The Health Belief Model

Victoria L. Champion and Celette Sugg Skinner

This chapter describes the origins of the Health Belief Model (HBM), reviews and defines its key components and their hypothesized relationships, describes issues related to measuring HBM constructs, and gives examples of carefully developed measures. This chapter also gives examples of applications of the HBM in descriptive and intervention studies of breast cancer screening and AIDS-related risky sexual behaviors.

The concept of perceived threat, defined as a combination of perceived susceptibility and severity in the HBM, has great relevance for many health-related behaviors.

Future challenges to HBM research include more thorough testing of the relationships among constructs beyond perceived threat. The HBM is a cognitively based model that does not consider the emotional component of behavior?this component, as well as cues to action, should be added to or better incorporated in HBM research. Finally, an updated critical review of the research and findings based on the HBM is warranted and would help to map future directions for researchers and practitioners.