After many years, the Health Belief Model is still being utilized today. The model was originally created over 60 years ago to learn and understand why people fail to change their behavior. Over the years, we have continued to refer to the model for this reason and also to further understand the response that people have to health-related topics. The model was first developed in response to the failure of people to participate in a screening of tuberculosis that was offered to them for free (Health Belief Model, n.d). Since then, the model has been adjusted to study various, different health behaviors from short term to long term. In order to understand how a person will behave and also their likelihood to make a behavior change, it is important to understand each construct of the health belief model. Perceived severity refers to an individual’s personal beliefs on how severe a certain disease is. Perceived susceptibility is how likely a person feels they are at contracting a certain disease. Perceived benefits are the positive aspects a person feels will come out of making a behavior change, whereas perceived barriers are the obstacles a person will face when trying to change the behavior.
These aspects of perception, along with self-efficacy, or a person’s confidence in their ability to change their behavior, can help us predict whether or not a behavior change will be made. When applying the Health Belief Model, we can look into diseases such as cancer and the likelihood of a person at risk to get screenings. We further looked into a common cause of cancer deaths among women, cervical cancer, and studied behavior based on the health belief model. It was found that when people perceive an illness to be very harmful, and believe they have the ability and resources to prevent their behavior, they are more likely to make a behavior change. Public health will continue to tweek and use this model to study behavior and, hopefully, one day understand why exactly people fail to change.