Critique of the health-belief model


  • Ruth Davidhizar RN MSN

    1. Instructor of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Memorial Hospital of South Bend, 615 N. Michigan, South Bend, Indiana 46601, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *

      Doctoral Student in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing at Indiana University.


Health-related behaviour is an important issue for providers for health care. Understanding and being able to predict and influence health behaviour are all essential if client co-operation and participation is to be obtained. Since nurses spend more time with patients than any other health care professional, they are in a position to influence health behaviour. Optimal interaction with patients and potential patients is the result of careful application of theory. The health-belief model offers an approach to understanding health-related behaviour. A clear understanding of the cause of behaviour is necessary in order to predict change. A clear understanding of cause is also necessary for determining methods to influence health behaviour. As a new model and one developed for the healthy, the model needs development and testing for applicability in understanding health and other behaviour. Nurses can make a significant contribution in this development by testing aspects of the model. This paper summarizes the model and assesses the model using specific criteria for a theory.