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National Cancer Institute

Theories Project: Improving Theories of Health Behavior & Theory at a Glance

The literature on health behavior is large, but progress in understanding health behaviors and in learning how to encourage such actions is not always apparent. Among the activities that may be considered are training in theory development and testing for health behavior researchers, recruiting scientists with strong theory orientations to cancer behavior research, development of state-of-the-art summaries of theory-relevant topics, and better communication of opportunities for theory-focused research.

  • Theory at a Glance (PDF)
    Theory at a Glance: Application to Health Promotion and Health Behavior (Second Edition), describes influential theories of health-related behaviors, processes of shaping behavior, and the effects of community and environmental factors on behavior. It complements existing resources that offer tools, techniques, and model programs for practice; and makes health behavior theory accessible and provides tools to solve problems and assess the effectiveness of health promotion programs. (For the purposes of this monograph, health promotion is broadly defined as the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. Thus, the focus goes beyond traditional primary and secondary prevention programs.)