REFERENCE: Elder, J. P., Hovell, M. F., Lasater, T. M., Wells, B. L., Carleton, R. A. (1985). Applications of behavior modification to community health education: The case of heart disease prevention. Health Education Quarterly, 12, 151-168.

Principles of behavior modification increasingly have been applied to community health education and offer considerable promise for public health in general. Behavior modification procedures can be conceptualized in a 2 x 2 framework with desired goals being either to increase and strengthen or decrease and weaken behavior, and procedures producing essentially positive or negative consequences. Modifying specific behavioral risk factors for the prevention of heart disease may include the use of positive reinforcement, shaping, differential reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and "punishment." The use of an adequate "behavior analytic" history, highly acceptable interventions, observable effects, inexpensive materials and procedures, community-owned programs, and other practical guidelines can help optimize the effectiveness of behavior modification for health education in the community.


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