Self-Efficacy and Healthy Behavior

Prevention, Promotion, and Detection
  • James E. Maddux
  • Lawrence Brawley
  • Angela Boykin
Part of the The Plenum Series in Social/Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)

Abstract

People do not always act in their own best interest. Too many of us smoke too much, drink too much, eat too much, drive too fast, get too much sun, engage in high-risk sexual activities, fail to wear seat belts—the list goes on. Psychologists have devoted much effort to understanding why people engage in behavior that seems self-destructive, and why they fail to do what they surely know is good for them, or at least will be in the long run (e.g., Baumeister & Scher, 1988). Health psychologists have been among the most active in the search for an understanding of why people engage in unsafe and unhealthy behaviors and why they have such great difficulty altering unhealthy behavior patterns and adapting healthier ones. Beliefs about personal control or efficacy are featured prominently in each of the major models or theories of health-related behavior change. This chapter is concerned with the role of perceived personal control in people’s decisions about behaviors that affect their physical health, with a major focus on self-efficacy theory and research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Maddux
    • 1
  • Lawrence Brawley
    • 2
  • Angela Boykin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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