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Abstract The purpose of the study was to validate an instrument that measures health counseling practices of occupational health nurses. The measure, the health habits counseling questionnaire (HHCQ), was derived from a model of physician counseling practices. The health habits included smoking, alcohol, weight management, and exercise. Safety at work was added for this random sample of California occupational health nurses. Reliability was comparable to original findings for a random sample of physicians drawn from the roster of a western medical society. The validity of the hypothesized global constructs of aggressiveness and indications was not supported. Physicians in the normative sample were more likely to use primary prevention as an indication for counseling. Overall, occupational health nurses and medical society physician members were similar on many aspects of their counseling, although some significant differences did exist.