How can a health practitioner facilitate behaviour change in an individual with a health-risk behaviour?
Health practitioners play an essential role in facilitating behaviour change in individuals that display health risk behaviours. Health practitioners are exposed to the aftermath of risky health behaviours everyday. Leading a lifestyle full of health risk behaviours is the most common cause of death and disease within most countries. For example, smoking is a significant modifiable behaviour within Australia that is known to directly cause many forms of Cancer, cardiovascular disease and the degeneration of the body. Health practitioners should promote good health behaviours such as the cessation of smoking through enabling individuals to increase their control over their health (Sinclair, J. Wk 7, LA, Slide 3).
In order to facilitate behavioural change in an individual with a health risk behaviour such as smoking, health practitioners need to consider the individuals’ current health status, including their physical, mental, and social wellbeing (Walker, J, Payne, S, Smith, P, and Jarrett, N. 2007. p2), as well as their current lifestyle, for example low income family (stressed), and/or poorly educated (lack of knowledge of how to quit etc). The implementation of a ‘theory of behaviour change’ or a ’behavioural change model’ will assist in the accurate and individualized process of behaviour and lifestyle modification.
Implementing a theory of behaviour change into the behaviour change process is more effective in achieving the modified behaviour more effective as they provide an understanding and identify the causes of risky behaviours eg. “Smoking is self-medication against anxiety and stress” (Walker, J. Ch9, p197), and in turn also provide models for the prevention of these risky behaviours. (Barkway, 2009, p2). Without professional assistance it is often harder to quit smoking as knowledge is not always ‘sufficient to produce changes in behaviour’ (Sinclair, J. Week 5 Lecture A, Slide 17). Transferring the knowledge that smoking is extremely bad for you, and the short and long term effects of continuing to smoke, from knowledge into action depends not only on internal and external factors such as the individuals’ environment, but also factors such as their individual values, attitudes, beliefs and motivation. (Sinclair, J. Week 5 Lecture A, Slide 17).
Health practitioners may facilitate the cessation of smoking in individuals by adopting the model of Health Action Process Approach (HAPA). (Barkway, 2009. P141-142). This behaviour modification theory highlights the role of self-efficacy, which affects an individuals’ intention to change and their ability to change with it. There are 3 phases of HAPA, the non-intentional phase, the intentional phase and the action phase. A similar model that can be incorporated for facilitating smoking cessation is the Transtheoretical model. This behaviour change model is currently commonly adopted specifically for the cessation of smoking and other addictive behaviours (Walker, J. Ch9, pg196). It further breaks down the process into 5 stages; pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance and acknowledges that relapses do occur and views these as challenges for the individual to overcome as opposed to ‘failing’ at quitting.
In the HAPA model, the non-intentional phase of facilitating smoking cessation revolves around developing the individuals’ intention to quit. At this phase of the process the individual may have not even considered quitting but it is the health practitioners responsibility within their health role to empower individuals towards better health, hence encouraging thoughts about quitting. In comparison, the transtheoretical model follows the stage of pre-contemplation. The individuals in question are either in denial that smoking is a health-risk behaviour, they are unmotivated to quit or they just aren’t ready. (Barkway 2009....
References: Barkway, P. (2009) Psychology for health professionals. Sydney: Elsevier
Brown, Janet M. (1996) Redefining smoking and the self as a nonsmoker. Western Journal of Nursing Research, volume 18.4 (1996) Retrieved from http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy2.acu.edu.au/gtx/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC=Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T002&prodId=AONE&docId=A18977795&source=gale&srcprod=AONE&userGroupName=acuni&version=1.0
Sinclair, J. (2010) HLSC 111 Person Health and Wellbeing.
Lectures Wk 7, LA, Slide 3 and Week 5 LA, Slide 17
Walker, J., Payne, S., Smith, P., & Jarrett, N. (2007). Psychology for Nurses and the Caring Professions (3rd ed) Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill
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