A number of psychosocial theories have been developed to predict, explain, and change health behaviors. In this article, six widely used theories are discussed in turn and then compared. They include four continuum theories (the health belief model; protection motivation theory; the theory of planned behavior and social cognitive theory), one stage theory (the transtheoretical model), and one theory that has both stage and continuum versions (the health action process approach). Common criticisms of these theories are briefly addressed.
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