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Health Psychology; Protection Motivation Theory

Health Psychology; Protection Motivation Theory

Protection Motivation Theory

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally with an approximate 8.2 million death recorded globally (Zare et al. 2015). The promotion of protective behaviour is one of the most effective approaches that can be applied in the quest to prevent cancer. The Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) is one of the renowned theories applied to assisting individuals to predict the occurrence of cancer (Xiao, 2014). This essay assesses the extent to which the PMT theory predicts and explains the behaviour of people intending to protect themselves from cancer.

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The PMT theory is effective in predicting behaviour and explaining the behaviour of people attempting to protect themselves from cancer. The theory’s effectiveness arises from the fact that it evaluates an individual’s behaviour with reference to a specific health hazard. The theory evaluates two main elements of an individual’s behaviour which include threat appraisal and coping appraisal. With regard to threat appraisal, the PMT enables an individual to identify the source of the threat and factors likely to increase or decrease the occurrence of a particular behaviour such as avoidance (Conner & Norman, 2005). For example, an individual may assess the seriousness associated with lung cancer and the probability of developing lung cancer as a result of smoking. Such an evaluation may trigger an individual to avoid smoking. The perception of the severity associated with an individual’s actions might trigger a change in his or her behaviour. Therefore, the PMT theory enables an individual to evaluate the vulnerability of suffering from cancer as a result of a particular behaviour.

The coping appraisal element emphasises the importance of integrating effective mechanisms to deal with the factors or threats likely to decrease or increase the occurrence of adaptive response (Abraham et al., 2016).  According to Abraham et al. (2016), the coping element is characterised by two main phases that include primary and secondary coping. The concept of primary appraisal is concerned with evaluating the potential harm, loss, or challenge associated with a particular aspect. Conversely, the secondary appraisal is concerned with assisting an individual to evaluate the applicable options and the resources available in order to deal with the risk or threat faced (Abraham et al., 2016). The coping appraisal mechanism enables an individual to follow behavioural advice provided by the relevant parties.

Conner and Norman (2005) emphasises that ‘both the recommended behaviour will be effective in reducing the threat’ (p. 83). Additionally, coping appraisal enables an individual to believe in his or her capability in overcoming the threat by complying with the recommended behaviour. For example, a smoker may evaluate the vulnerability of suffering from cancer as a result of smoking and his capability of quitting smoking and other related unhealthy behaviour. Coping appraisal further enables an individual to determine the cost benefits associated with a particular behaviour.  Therefore, the coping appraisal component of the protection motivation theory enables an individual to evaluate the rewards associated with desisting from engaging in negative behaviour that might increase the risk of suffering cancer. The analysis affirms that the protection motivation theory is very effective in enhancing an individual’s capacity to predict and explain the behaviour of individuals intending to avoid the likelihood of suffering from cancer.

References

Abraham, C. Norman, P., & Conner, M. (2013). Understanding and changing health

            behaviour; from health beliefs to self-regulation, Psychology Press, New York.

Conner, M., & Norman, P. (2005). Predicting health behaviour; research and practice with

            social cognition models. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Zare, M., Sakvidi, M., Mostaghaci, M., Mehraparvar, A., Morowatisharifabad, M., &

Naghshineh, E. (2015). ‘Psychosocial predictors for cancer prevention behaviours in workplace using protection motivation theory’, Advances in Preventative Medicine, vol. 15, pp. 1-9.

Xiao, H., Li, S., Chen, X., Yu, B., Gao, M., Yan, H., & Okafor, C. (2014). ‘Protection

motivation theory in predicting intention to engage in protective behaviours against schistosomiasis among middle school students in rural Asia’, PLoS, Negl.Trop Dis, 8 (10).

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