Behavioral Research

Table of Contents
1 General Definition
2 Use of the Construct in Health Behavior Theories

Measures and Measurements


Similar Constructs


Measurement and Methodological Issues




Measures Appendix

8 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

Social Influence
Thomas A. Wills, Michael G. Ainette, and Carmella Walker

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Similar Constructs

Social Network. Measures of social network composition typically ask about the number of persons with whom one has regular social interaction. Having a larger social network is a significant protective factor for physical health problems, but the mechanisms for this are not well understood (Uchino, 2004). It has been suggested that persons who are more integrated in their community are more susceptible to social pressure through network enforcement of norms discouraging smoking or alcohol use (Berkman, Glass, Brissette, & Seeman, 2000). There is some evidence showing network size related to substance use (Hanson, 1994; Umberson, 1987) but there is little direct evidence on whether a social influence process is involved in this effect (see Urberg, Degirmencioglu, & Pilgrim, 1997; Wills & Filer, 2001).

Social Support. The construct of social support refers to the availability of persons who can be supportive when one has a problem, through behaviors such as empathic listening or providing needed tangible goods (Wills & Filer, 2001; Wills & Shinar, 2000). Most measures of social support are usually not referenced to a specific type of problem or health behavior, though they may be predictors of substance use (Brennan & Moos, 1990; Peirce, Frone, Russell, & Cooper, 1996; Wills, Resko, Ainette, & Mendoza, 2004). There are instances where measures of emotional/instrumental supportiveness have been adapted for a specific behavior, such as smoking or alcohol cessation (Cohen & Lichtenstein, 1990; Havassey, Hall, & Wasserman, 1991).

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Health Behavior Constructs: Theory, Measurement, & Research  You can Quit smoking Now!