, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 1316-1323
Date: 19 Oct 2010

Association Between Health Beliefs and Health Behavior in Early Pregnancy

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Abstract

Folate-supplementation significantly reduces the risk of neural tube defects. The aim of this research was to reveal associations between health beliefs and folate -supplementation as well as other elements of health behavior among Hungarian women early in their pregnancy. Three-hundred and seven women in early pregnancy completed the second part of Health and Illness Scale. Factor structure of health beliefs was established and associations of factors with pregnancy planning, folate-intake, vitamin-intake, smoking-habits and alcohol-consumption were tested. A six factor health model was formulated; the factor named ‘mental capacities and abilities’ was associated with greater chance on folate-intake, vitamin-intake and prepared pregnancy, as well as a reduced chance of smoking. The factors ‘destiny’, ‘measures aiming at prevention’, and ‘relatives and acquaintances’ related to lower chance on folate-intake. The health belief factor representing Internal Health Locus of Control was associated with more than one component of healthy behavior, while factors of external dimensions (Powerful Others Health Locus of Control and Chance Health Locus of Control) were predictive on unhealthy behavioral tendencies. New approaches aiming to shift one’s health beliefs and health locus of control from external causes to internal dimensions are needed in order to reach greater openness towards health-improving interventions.