The Health Belief Model takes into account individual perceptions, modifying factors and the likelihood of an action occurring. For individual perception, it examines both perceived susceptibility and perceived severity. When looking at modifying factors, this includes individual demographics, perceived threat, and cues to action. Likelihood of action accounts for perceived benefits compared to perceived barriers and self-efficacy.
When considering perceived susceptibility, the degree to which a person feels at risk for a health outcome is examined. Knowledge, literacy level, and language proficiency are all aspects that should be taken into consideration when looking into someone’s perceived susceptibility. Along with perceived susceptibility there is the perceived severity is the degree to which a person believes the consequences of the health problem will be severe. Things like previous traumatic experiences and religious beliefs can play a factor in how our perceived severities differ from one another.
For modifying factors there are three different aspects to be looked at, demographics, perceived threat, and cues to action. Demographics includes things like age, gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, education, personality, and much more varying person to person. Perceived threat is a combination of both the perceived susceptibility and severity, and looking more into the cause and outcome of having the health problem. Also, perceived threat is influenced by self-efficacy. Lastly, cues to action involves external motivators that urges someone to act in a certain way towards their concern. Cues to action can include things like education, media and peer pressure.
Two things influence likelihood of action. Both perceived benefits compared to barriers and our own self efficacy are factors that individuals consider. Perceived benefits are the positive outcomes a person believes will result if they decide to take action to reduce and/or prevent a disease or illness. When many people look at perceived benefits they also compare these to their perceived barriers, which are the negative outcomes a person believes will result from taking action to reduce and/or prevent a disease or illness. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her own ability to take action.
An example of the HBM is the practice of mammography check-ups among older woman. Perceived susceptibility includes that older women have higher chances of developing breast cancer. Perceived severity includes women recognizing that breast cancer is a deadly disease. Perceived benefits of getting screened involve improved cancer detection rates and therefore better survival rates and treatments if an individual is found to have breast cancer. Perceived barriers include the potential lack of access to a doctor’s office due to location or lack of insurance. Cues to action include reminders for the individual to get screened. For example, a cue for a woman is that breast cancer could run in her family. Self-efficacy involves the woman’s belief that she can effectively get screened (University of Pennsylvania, 2018).