Health Belief Model (HBM)


The basic idea of the original version of this model was that, if people know about a serious health threat, feel at risk of it personally, and think that the benefits of taking an action to avoid the threat outweigh the costs of the action, they will do what it takes to reduce their risk. Two additional predictors of the behavior were added later:


Houghbaum, G.M., Becker, M.H., Rosenstock, I.M., Stretcher, V.J.

Seminal references

Rosenstock, I.M. The health belief model and preventive health behavior. Health education monographs, 1974, 2(4), 324-473.

Becker MH. Social learning theory and the health belief model. Health Education Quarterly, 1988, 15(2), 175-183.

Major constructs

(Original) Perceived Threat Severity, Perceived Threat Susceptibility, Perceived Benefits
(Added) Cue to Action, Perceived Barriers
(Subsequently added) Self-efficacy


Scarinci IC, Bandura L, Hidalgo B, Cherrington A. Development of a theory-based (PEN-3 and Health Belief Model), culturally relevant intervention on cervical cancer prevention among Latina immigrants using intervention mapping. Health Promot Pract. 2012 Jan;13(1):29-40. Epub 2011 Mar 21. PubMed PMID:21422254.

Lombard DN, Lombard TN, Winett RA. Walking to meet health guidelines: the effect of prompting frequency and prompt structure. Health Psychol. 1995 Mar;14(2):164-70. PubMed PMID: 7789352.

Chen AH, Sallis JF, Castro CM, Lee RE, Hickmann SA, William C, Martin JE. A home-based behavioral intervention to promote walking in sedentary ethnic minority women: project WALK. Womens Health. 1998 Spring;4(1):19-39. PubMed PMID: 9520605.

Major advantages

Major Criticisms


National Cancer Institute, Theory at a Glance (see pages 13-14)

University of Twente, Health Belief Model