Instructional design strategies for health behavior change

Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Jan;56(1):3-15. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2004.02.005.


To help health educators build upon the best of different health behavior change theories, this paper offers a unified set of instructional design strategies for health education interventions. This set draws upon the recommendations of Rosenstock (Health Belief Model), Bandura (Social Cognitive Theory), and Dearing (Diffusion Theory), and uses a modified Events of Instruction framework (adapted from Robert Gagne): gain attention (convey health threats and benefits), present stimulus material (tailor message to audience knowledge and values, demonstrate observable effectiveness, make behaviors easy-to-understand and do), provide guidance (use trustworthy models to demonstrate), elicit performance and provide feedback (to enhance trialability, develop proficiency and self-efficacy), enhance retention and transfer (provide social supports and deliver behavioral cues). Sample applications of these strategies are provided. A brief review of research on adolescent smoking prevention enables consideration of the frequency with which these strategies are used, and possible patterns between strategy use and behavioral outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Attention
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cognition
  • Cues
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Models, Educational*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Planning Techniques
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Educational
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Support
  • Social Values
  • Teaching / organization & administration*