Cues to action in the process of changing lifestyle

  • Meillier L
  • Lund A
  • Kok G
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This research has been carried out in order to evaluate cues to action in health behavior. Which cues produce changes and how does the process of change proceed? In-depth qualitative interviews based on the Grounded Theory Method were made with 21 40-year-old men. Ten men were interviewed three times during a 1-year period to trace the process of change. In total 40 interviews were carried out during 1989-1990. All the interviewees were randomly selected from the population registers in the municipalities of Aarhus and Vejle. The main themes of the interviews are changes in previous health behavior, motivation for intentions to change in health behavior, and the role of health education in the process of change. Health behavior determinants seem to be knowledge, attitude, confidence, social influence, experiences and possibilities for change. Individuals typically exhibit a wide range of these determinants which makes it difficult to affect behavioral change through health education. Cues to action seem to arise from social influence, experiences, or underlying shifts in the possibilities of change. Experiences and social influence due to the health behavior in question seem to initiate changes in confidence, attitude and thereby motivation to change. Cues to action arising from these determinants are categorized as own illness or illness among friends and relatives, changes in self-perception, exceeded limits determined by the behavior in question, and social pressure. Shifts in the possibilities for change, such as change of partner or other life events, produce changes also affecting health behavior. A strategy to initiate changes in health behavior could be to create cues to action through personal experiences in the context of a specific health behavior or to establish contact to people when they are experiencing new life circumstances.

Author-supplied keywords

  • cues to action
  • health behavior
  • health education
  • heart disease
  • lay-perspective

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  • Lucette K. Meillier

  • Anker Brink Lund

  • Gerjo Kok

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