REFERENCE: Hovell, M.F., Elder, J.P., Blanchard, J., Sallis, J.F. (1986). Behavior analysis and public health perspectives: Combining paradigms to effect prevention. Education and Treatment of Children, 9, 287-306.

The role of behavior, and hence the importance of applied behavior analysis (ABA), in the etiology, control, and prevention of major types of morbidity and mortality is presented. The behavior patterns referred to as life-style may account for over 50% of the major "causes" of death. This recognition has initiated the health promotion era in public health, where emphasis has been placed on the modification of high risk behavior to prevent injury, disease, and premature death. The next step in developing the health promotion era in public health requires a merging of paradigms as well as an extension of ABA and public health perspectives. The merger and extensions are described as a prerequisite to the maintenance of healthy behavior on a community-wide basis. ABA will have to focus research attention on temporally distal antecedent and consequent events, especially the social reactions of families and friends, to develop effective interventions for maintaining healthy behavior. The public health field will have to adopt a learning theory basis for understanding and controlling health-related behavior. Finally, recommendations/speculations are provided for integrated multidisciplinary research and intervention development that may maintain health behavior in children and adults.


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