What is it about?

Behavioural-change-related health education programmes represent a mainstay of health care activity. Where adopted, however, the theoretical and practical constructs and constraints are not always considered. The failure of many health education programmes to achieve their intended life-style-related behavioural-change outcomes is often directly related to the complexity of the task itself.

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Why is it important?

Changing a client's health behaviour is notoriously difficult and requires concerted and systematic activities to ensure any measure of success. This article provides systematic recommendations to overcome the significant barriers to health-related behavioural change.


This article draws upon existing literature to develop a critical theoretical and practical perspective for health education practice in nursing. It aims to explore the underpinning theoretical considerations for undertaking behavioural-change health education programmes. This article also proposes specific recommendations for current and future health education practice, as a means for facilitating a more structured approach to health education programme planning and evaluation.

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: How effective are health education programmes—resistance, reactance, rationality and risk? Recommendations for effective practice, International Journal of Nursing Studies, February 2004, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/s0020-7489(03)00117-2.
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