Psychological Aspect of Health Care

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Critically evaluating the extent to which patient’s beliefs influence their experience and response to health care.

Our personal beliefs influence our health behavior either positively or negatively. Health beliefs have been linked to uptake and have been measured using a number of models. For example, Bish et al. (2000) used the health belief model (HBM) and the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to predict uptake of a routine cervical smear test.

Personal models refer to patients’ representations of their illness, and include knowledge, beliefs, experiences and emotions concerning their health condition (Petrie & Weinman, 1997; Skelton & Croyle, 1991). Within self-regulation theory, they are assumed to play an important role in determining a person’s response to a health threat and their subsequent health-related behaviour (Leventhal, Leventhal, & Contrada, 1998; Leventhal, Nerenz, & Steele, 1984). Consistent with self-regulation theory, personal models of diabetes have been shown to be predictive of diet and, to a lesser extent, exercise self-management among older people with diabetes (Hampson, 1997a).

The association between health beliefs and intentions or actual performance of health behaviours has been examined extensively within the theoretical framework of social cognitive models such as the Health Belief Model (e.g. Rosenstock, 1974), and the Theory of Planned Behaviour (e.g. Ajzen, 1985). These theoretical approaches have a number of overlapping constructs (Norman & Conner, 1996), and personal models also have similarities with elements of social cognition theories. However, personal models are unique in that they are empirically based, originating in studies of patients. Focusing on Illness cognition within the con...

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Norman, P., & Conner, C. (1996). The role of social cognition theories. In M. Conner & P. Norman (Eds), Predicting health behaviour (pp. 197–225). Buckingham: Open University Press.

Moss-Morris, R., Petrie, K., & Weinman, J. (1996). Functioning in chronic fatigue syndrome: Do

illness perceptions play a regulatory role? British Journal of Health Psychology, 1, 15–25.

Rao J,Weinberger M and Kurt K. Visit-specific expectations and patient-centred outcomes: A literature review. Archives of Family Medicine 2000;9:(10)1148–55.

Rosenstock,I. M. (1974).Historical origins of the Health Belief Model. Health

Education Monographs, 2, 1–8.