Article

Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 11-38

First online:

The common-sense model of illness representation: Theoretical and practical considerations

  • Michael A. DiefenbachAffiliated withInstitute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • , Howard LeventhalAffiliated withInstitute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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Abstract

This article focuses on several areas. After reviewing the most commonly used approaches in the study of health behaviors, (e.g., the medical model, the health belief model, and the theory of reasoned action) the common-sense model is presented as an alternative. By presenting evidence across a wide range of illness domains, we demonstrate the usefulness of the common-sense, self-regulatory approach. We then discuss the importance of the common-sense model for health research among minorities. We conclude the article with examples of the operationalization of illness representations in past research and directions for future research.

Key words

health behavior cross-cultural research