The health belief model and adolescents with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Health Psychol. 1992;11(3):190-8. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.11.3.190.


We tested the predictive utility of the health belief model (HBM) for adherence with a complex, ongoing medical regimen in the context of a chronically ill youthful population (56 adolescent outpatients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus; mean age = 14 years). A three-construct model of health beliefs was tested: Threat (perceived susceptibility combined with severity), Benefits-Costs, and Cues to seek treatment. Multiple indicators of compliance were used, and metabolic control was measured by glycosylated hemoglobin. The Benefits-Costs and Cues constructs were related to compliance in the theoretically expected positive direction. Threat interacted with Benefits-Costs in the prediction of compliance and with Cues in the prediction of metabolic control. The greatest compliance was achieved with low perceived Threat and high perceived Benefits-Costs. Poor metabolic control was associated with high Threat and Cues. As age increased, adherence to the exercise, injection, and frequency components of the regimen decreased.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Patient Compliance
  • Probability
  • Self Care
  • Telephone