Behavioral Research

Table of Contents
1 General Description & Theoretical Background

Similar Constructs


Measurement and Methodological Issues

4 Conclusion



Measures Appendix

7 Published Examples

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Other Constructs



Dispositional Optimism




Illness Representations

  Implementation Intentions
  Intention, Expectation, and Willingness
  Normative Beliefs
  Optimistic Bias
  Perceived Benefits
  Perceived Control
  Perceived Severity
  Perceived Vulnerability
  Self-Reported Behavior
  Social Influence
  Social Support

Perceived Benefits
Victoria Champion

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2 Similar Constructs

Outcome Expectancy

Outcome expectancy is the expectation that a behavior will produce a set of outcomes, i.e., the belief that a given action will lead to a defined result, whether beneficial or not (Bandura, 1982, 1997; DeVries, Dijkstra, & Kok, 1989; Hofstetter, Sallis, & Hovell, 1990). This dimension overlaps with perceived benefits in that the likelihood that a person will pursue a given course of action is dependent upon the expectation that a behavior will produce a desired result (benefit).


Self-efficacy is the belief that a person has the ability to complete an action. The concept was originally defined as a judgment about personal capability (Bandura, 1986), and later conceptualized as a person's belief that he or she has the ability to exercise control over a set of skills needed to complete a specific task (Maddux et al., 1995). Self-efficacy is clearly different than perceived benefits, in that an individual may believe that smoking cessation will reduce the risk of developing lung cancer (perceived benefit), but not believe that he/she is able to quit (perceived self-efficacy). One feature that measures of self-efficacy and perceived benefits have in common, however, is the distinction between general and domain-specific measures - it has been demonstrated that both domain-specific measures of self-efficacy (e.g., "I am capable of quitting smoking") and domain-specific measures of benefits (e.g., "If I quit smoking I will decrease the likelihood that I will have lung cancer") predict better than measures assessing a general sense of being efficacious (e.g., "I am a person who usually succeeds at meeting my goals"), or benefits in general (e.g., "If I quit smoking, my health will improve"; Bandura, 1982; DeVries et al., 1989; Meyerowitz & Chaiken, 1987).


Fatalism is the belief that an individual has no control over events related to a cancer occurrence. Powe identified fatalism as including perceptions of hopelessness, worthlessness, meaninglessness, powerlessness and social despair and applied it to cancer; thus, conceptually it is the opposite of thinking that one's actions can be responsible for accruing benefits. More specifically, in the area of health, benefits are positive attributes associated with a health action and fatalism is a perception that there are no benefits associated with any action related to the disease. Thus, fatalism does not refer to a specific behavior but rather to the belief that nothing can be done to change a negative outcome. This construct has been applied to cancer screening as the perception that cancer is beyond the individual's control, thus, there would be no benefit to screening (Powe, 1995; Powe & Weinrich, 1999; Sugarek, Deyo, & Holmes, 1988; Underwood, 1992).

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