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Behaviour Change and Communication Analysis (Essay Sample)

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BEHAVIOR change and communication

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022860000 Behaviour Change and Communication
Introduction
What is BCC?
BCC is a process through which we strive to alter or influence peoples attitudes (beliefs, feelings, action) and sustain the desired change.
It is the process of using communication approaches and tools to:
* Develop the skills and capabilities of communities to promote and manage their own health and development;
* Foster positive change in peoples’ behaviour, as well as in their knowledge and attitudes;
* Work in partnership with families, schools, health services and communities to influence the social norms and policy environment within which they function.
Behavior Change Communication (BCC) is a multi-level tool for promoting and sustaining risk-reducing behavior change in individuals and communities by distributing tailored health messages in a variety of communication channels. It is concerned with how organisms adopt in relation to their environment. Its focus is on how behavior is developed, maintained and can be altered. To understand the origin of behaviour we shall look at two theories of human behaviour.
6.2 Theories and Models of Behaviour Change
Theories tell us why people do what they do while Models tell us how they do it. The models are useful because they suggest specific areas for educational intervention.
There are quite a number of major theories of behaviour and behaviour change, some of which come from psychology. However, considerable attention has been given to models of individual behaviour change per se – but much less attention has been given to models or theories that attempt to understand behaviour change within groups and whole communities. The design of programs to reach communities requires an understanding of how those communities work, their barriers and enablers to change, and what influences their behaviours in general.
The theories of behaviour change can be divided into two main groups:
* Stage theories;
* Social Cognitive-Behavioural Theories;
* Health belief model
Let us consider each in turn.
Stage Theories
These theories suggest that behaviour change occurs in stages or steps and that movement through these stages is neither unitary or linear, but rather, cyclical, involving a pattern of adoption, maintenance, relapse, and readoption over time. The work of Prochaska and DiClemente (1986) and their colleagues have formally identified the dynamics and structure of staged behaviour change. In attempting to explain these patterns of behaviour, Prochaska and DiClemente developed a transtheoretical model of behavioural change, which proposes that behaviour change occurs in five distinct stages through which people move in a cyclical or spiral pattern.
These are:
* Precontemplation: whereby the individual has no intent on the part of the individual to change his or her behaviour in the foreseeable future
* Contemplation: where people are aware that a problem exists and are seriously considering taking some action to address the problem
* Preparation: involves both intention to change and some behaviour, usually minor, and often meeting with limited success
* Action: where individuals actually modify their behaviour, experiences, or environment in order to overcome their problems or to meet their goals
* Maintenance: where people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained in the action stage. The stabilization of behaviour change and the avoidance of relapse are characteristic of the maintenance stage
Figure 6.1 below illustrates this pattern.
Further work undertaken and reported by Prochaska et al (1992) suggests that behaviour change can only take place in the context of an enabling or supportive
environment. This supportive environment is made up of the following:
* SOCIAL FEATURES: nature of personal relationships; expectations of class, position, age, gender; access to knowledge, information.
* LEGAL FEATURES: laws determining what people can do and activities to encourage observance of those laws;

MAINTENANCE: practice required for the new behaviour to be consistently maintained and incorporated into the behaviour of a person.


ACTION: people make changes, acting on previous decisions, experience, information, new skills, and motivations for making the change.


PREPARATION: a person prepares to undertake the desired change by gathering information, finding out how to achieve the change, ascertaining skills necessary, deciding when change should take place. It may include talking with others to see how they feel about the likely change, considering impact change will have and who will be affected.


CONTEMPLATION: something happens to prompt the person to start thinking about change - perhaps hearing that someone has made changes - or something else has changed - resulting in the need for further change.


PRECONTEMPLATION: changing a behaviour has not been considered; person might not realise that change is possible or that it might be of interest to them

Figure 6.1: Behaviour Change Patterns. Source: The Behavior Change spiral from "What do they want us to do now?" AFAO 1996
* CULTURAL FEATURES: the behaviours and attitudes considered acceptable in given contexts - eg. relating to sex, gender, drugs, leisure, participation
* POLITICAL FEATURES: systems of governance in which change will have to take place - can, for example, limit access to information and involvement in social action.
* ETHICAL & SPIRITUAL FEATURES: influence of personal and shared values and discussion about moral systems from which those are derived – can include rituals, religion and rights of passage.
* RESOURCE FEATURES: affect what is required to make things happen - covers human, financial and material resources; community knowledge and skills; and items for exchange
* CULTURAL FEATURES: - the behaviours and attitudes considered acceptable in given contexts - eg. relating to sex, gender, drugs, leisure, participation.
* POLITICAL FEATURES: - systems of governance in which change will have to take place - can, for example, limit access to information and involvement in social action.
* ETHICAL & SPIRITUAL FEATURES: - influence of personal and shared values and discussion about moral systems from which those are derived – can include rituals, religion and rights of passage.
* RESOURCE FEATURES: - affect what is required to make things happen - covers human, financial and material resources; community knowledge and skills; and items for exchange
Parallel with the work of Prochaska and DiClemente, Rogers, (1983) also developed a
stage-based theory to explain how new ideas or innovations are disseminated and adopted at the community and population levels. Rogers identified five distinct stages in the process of diffusion of any new initiative or innovation. These are:
* knowledge,
* persuasion,
* decision,
* implementation, and
* confirmation.
Rogers argued that the adoption of an idea is enhanced if a community or person perceives the idea as being superior to existing practice. That is, one has to see the relative advantage of adopting a new behaviour, such as washing hands after visiting the toilet. If a community does not see the advantage then they will not adopt the new behaviour. The new behaviour must also be highly compatible with the existing social system.
Having considered the stage theories, let us now turn to the Social Cognitive Behavioural Theories.
Social Cognitive Theory
Social Cognitive Theory explains human behaviour in terms of a dynamic and reciprocal model in which behaviour, personal factors, and environmental influences interact. The model believes that behavior is determined by expectations and incentives or the perceived value of an outcome. For example, people change behaviour because they can see some benefit such as improved health status or for the approval of others. Behaviour is also determined by beliefs about how environmental events are connected; opinions about the consequences of one's own actions; and expectations about one's own ability to perform the behavior needed to influence outcomes (self-efficacy).
Self-efficacy is one of the key concepts.
Self-efficacy refers to one’s confidence in the ability to take action and persist in action. It is seen by Bandura (1986) as perhaps the single most important factor in promoting changes in behaviour. Measures of self-efficacy and some of the other key concepts from Social Cognitive Theory have also been identified as key determinants of movement through the stages of change, (Oldenburg, 1999).
Self-efficacy expectations have been found repeatedly to be important determinants
of:
* the choice of activities in which people engage;
* how much energy they will expend on such activities and;
* the degree of persistence they demonstrate in the face of failure and/or
* adversity.
In general, higher levels of self-efficacy for a given activity are associated with higher participation in that activity.
Another theory that is similar to the Social Cognitive Theory is the Attribution Theory. This theory proposes that individual...

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