Theory in health education practice

Health Educ Q. 1992 Fall;19(3):295-313. doi: 10.1177/109019819201900303.


Although social and behavioral science theories are claimed to be able to contribute greatly to the effectiveness of health education programs, most practitioners in the profession seem to doubt this, and very few ever deliberately use theories in their work. Some reasons for such diverse views reside in the nature of the theories, in the very different roles they play in the worlds of theory-minded and practice-oriented health educators, respectively, in widespread unrealistic expectations of what theories can and cannot contribute to practice, and in lack of appropriate training in theories and their uses. Suggestions are offered to both practicing and academic health educators on ways to bridge the gap between the two camps, to render theories more useful to practitioners, and to train practitioners and health education students to appreciate the potentials of theories and to acquire skills needed to utilize such potentials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavioral Sciences*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Education / standards*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Professional Practice / standards
  • Sociology*
  • Teaching / standards