Describe Self-Efficacy as a Theory of Health Belief. (10)

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Theories of health belief aim to explain and to predict why individuals may or may not adopt healthy behaviours. The three theories that come under theories of health belief are; the health belief model, locus of control and self-efficacy. Even though each theory is trying to explain the same thing they approach the subject differently. Self-efficacy takes a more holistic approach where it includes factors such as past experiences. Whereas the locus of control is very reductionist and only accounts for one factor. Self-efficacy is the belief that an individual has in themselves in completing or succeeding in a task. In relation to health the self-efficacy theory can be explained by, for example a person trying to lose weight. If a person believes that if they complete different exercises and having a certain diet they will succeed in losing weight, these people would have high self-efficacy. Whereas if a person believes that they won’t succeed in these tasks they have low self-efficacy and would be less likely to partake in them. The theory was investigated by Bandura and Adam where they researched systematic desensitisation. In the study they used participants that had phobias of snakes and used systematic desensitisation methods to try and reduce the phobia and see whether it affects self-efficacy. Bandura and Adam found that after systematic desensitisation participants felt more confident when handling the snakes. Therefore showing that their self-efficacy had improved. This is useful when it comes to medical and health issues as it allows medical professionals to predict when additional support is needed. The study by Bandura and Adam also shows that self-efficacy can be changed and is not a fixed thing which supports the nurture
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