Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 11–38 | Cite as

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

  • Michael A. Diefenbach
  • Howard Leventhal


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 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Diefenbach
    • 1
  • Howard Leventhal
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research RutgersThe State University of New JerseyNew Jersey

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