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Theories for Successful Evidence-Based Prevention, Essay Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1997

Essay

There are a great number of theories developed to analyze human behavior, and to prevent a person from socially inappropriate actions. The theories are a result of long-term observations of human behavior and its causes that may lead to such negative social factors as drug or alcohol usage, crime, family violence, and the health consequences. The theories are interdependent and interrelated as they have been developed in the same base or derived from each other. Social cognitive theory is a psychological following of social cognitive science that studies human brain and its processes. The theory claims that a part of human knowledge is possessed through observing others. Thus, person’s perception of the world is influenced by constant social interactions with other people, his or her own life experience, observations of other’s lives, and outside media. This theory is mostly applicable in the fields of education, communication, and psychology as it emphasizes the importance of the social environment (Gochman, 1997).

Health belief theory is targeted to predict a patient’s response to the providing treatment. Initially, this model was used to predict behavior of chronically or acutely ill patients who pass through four main stages. Firstly, they assess the risk of their health condition, then, they focus on the severity and possible consequences of the disease. There are barriers that discourage or facilitate a patient to adopt a kind of behavior until he or she evaluates benefits of this behavior. Later, this theory was expanded to include additional perceptions that allow predicting a patient’s behavior. These are demographic aspect including gender, age, occupation, and ethnicity; socio-psychological factors like personality and socio economic status; perceived efficacy that is a personal self-evaluation of the capacity of adopting desired behavior. Other factors include external influences, personal health motivation, perceived control and the threat that stimulate a patient to take the recommended treatment or action (Gochman, 1997).

Theories of reasoned action and planned behavior are both based on three factors – attitude, subjective norms, and behavior – to predict a person’s behavior. The theory of reason action declared the dependence of behavioral intention on the combination of subjective norms and personal attitude to ways of behavior. Therefore, person’s behavior can be predicted through his or her personal attitude toward the behavior and its consequences and what other people might think of such way of conduct. However, if a person does not care much of what others might think, subjective norms are not valuable for behavior prediction. The theory of planned behavior uses the same components with additional perceived behavioral control to identify a person’s behavioral intentions.  This theory is effectively applicable in the fields of public relations, healthcare, advertising, and advertising campaigns (Gochman, 1997).

Social norms theory is targeted to provide people, especially youth, with the right understanding of appropriate behavioral norms. Social norms play the fundamental role in assessing and understanding human conduct. These norms have been developed and implemented to regulate successful joint living, and to observe human rights and freedoms. Thus, it is crucial to understand that one’s private judgments, attitudes, and behavior is different from other people; however, one does not represent the majority or one’s behavior is more unique than others’ (Gochman, 1997). This theory tends to transform a person from a bystander position to a participant one. Another theory encouraging proper person’s behavior was offered by Witte (1994) as the extended parallel process model. This model investigates the influence of fear used as a persuasion factor on person’s attitudes; this approach is effective only if a person cares about the situation or issue, and chooses ways of action between danger control and fear control. During the danger control process, a person tries to eliminate or to reduce the risk presented through offered changes or actions. During the fear control process, a person concentrates on the assessment and analysis of the risk severity, and tries to overcome the fear presented.

Hawkins and Catalano designed the social development model based on the studies of youth abuse, drug and alcohol usage, risky sexual behavior, crime, school dropout, and mental health problems. Their study emphasizes that adolescent’s behavior is influenced by a variety of factors such as family relationships, socialization, school environment, and social environment (Hawkins & Weis, 1985). The positive behavior can be achieved through youth’s involvement in various activities pertaining to all life aspects; this will ensure the person’s success, self-confidence, and appropriate social conduct (Hawkins & Weis, 1985). The social ecological model is a framework developed to analyze people’s behavior in the various environment contexts and their influences on one another. This model is adopted by centers for disease control and prevention that are targeted to encourage appropriate health decisions, develop and implement disease control and prevention, and cover other health-related social aspects.

Institutes of Medicine developed their model of prevention, which main objective is to identify community groups with various prevention needs, and to satisfy this need through appropriate programs, policies, and practices. According to this model, the most vulnerable social groups are homeless youth, foster youth, rave party-goers, students with low grades, school drop-outs, and young offenders. Erikson offered his psychological model of human development that explains person’s behavior and actions. According to Erikson, there are 8 stages of psychological development starting from birth and ending with death – hope (trust vs. mistrust), will (autonomy vs. shame), purpose (initiative vs. guilt), competence (industry vs. inferiority), fidelity (identity vs. role confusion), love (intimacy vs. isolation), care (generativity vs. stagnation), and wisdom (ego integrity vs. despair) (Niolon, n.d.). The reconceptualized theory of deterrence considers general deterrence as a result of personal experiences based both on knowledge of crime and consequences and personal involvement in such activities. Hence, all the discussed above theories are developed to ensure human well-being, especially youth who is the most vulnerable social group. In practice, these models and theories provide right understanding of social norms and conduct, encourage positive behavior in social and health fields, and assist in preventing crime, violence, and drug abuse among youth.

Development and Implementation of a Strategic Plan

Strategic planning is targeted to promote health and education fields in the contexts of marketing and competition (Timmreck, 2003). The main factor of strategic planning is diversification that is a development and planning of new enterprises and services to facilitate the competitive position of the parent organization (Timmreck, 2003). The main aspects of strategic planning are needs assessment, capacity building, program planning, program development and implementation, and evaluation. These aspects slightly vary in terms of the community chosen for health and education promotion. Needs assessment can be performed after the determination of the subject group. After the target group is identified, one should determine the method type of need assessment, develop instrument, methods, and processes, conduct the assessment, and analyze the findings (Timmreck, 2003). Afterwards, one should estimate the importance of the findings, and identify gaps in community services, or programs.

The first stage of capacity building is the assessment and evaluation of the targeted group, social acceptance of the project, necessary resources, the compliance with policies and regulations. Moreover, it is essential to take into consideration to assess community’s resources, programs, and services (Timmreck, 2003). It is also critical to determine priorities necessary to be achieved to improve the existing situation, and formulation of objectives and goals. Then, it is time for program planning; this should be done in the form of step-by-step procedures and activities. It is considerable to identify the priority of actions and how to align the procedures. The proper assessment of group needs and action priorities assist in identifying the necessity of a pilot project creation as it may be a waste of time, resources, and money. The project at hand requires consideration about supplies and equipment purchases, required space, additional personnel, official formalities, and legal aspects. Moreover, it is essential to develop the budget, procedures and policies pertaining to budget and accounting management, and organizational structure. One should also consider coordination and supervision procedures of the project implementation, the expansion and growth of the project, and processes of paperwork and documentation (Timmreck, 2003).

Before the implementation stage of the project completion, it is critical to create timeline charts reflecting step-by-step procedures and activities. This is necessary to ensure timely accomplishment of project completion steps. The implementation of the project requires final preparations and community education, marketing, and open house planning as well (Timmreck, 2003).  It is also crucial to ensure that the whole scope of services, equipment, licenses, permits, utilities is present. After final assessment of all project aspects, it can be open and implemented. The final stage of any strategic planning is the evaluation of the project results and feedback. The consequences of the project implementation reflect whether the objectives have been met, the effectiveness and efficient of the activities made, the compliance with the time limits. This stage also requires the conduct of both impact and outcome evaluations (Timmreck, 2003).

A high school community has been chosen a study group for this project as youth is the most vulnerable group for inappropriate social behavior, violence, risky sex behavior, and dropouts. To perform the needs assessment, one will use both local demographic and community data. The collection of information will be performed from high school resources reflective student performance in studies, involvement in after-school activities, notices of inappropriate behavior and conflicts with peers or teachers. The data concerning family environment of a student will be also taken into consideration. Local social sources will be used to collect information of police records, local policies and regulations related to the issue, and the balance of white and non-white children at schools, school environment, and quality of teaching instructions. To achieve access to initial sources with information, one will regulate legal issues pertaining to the project implementation, and identify the resourcefulness of school and local archives to determine the amount of potential data. After information collection, its findings will be analyzed to set goals and objectives of the project. Probably, this will be implementation of series of seminars dedicated to determining youth priorities for future success and prosperity. This may also be a number of interactivities or competitions encouraging students to show their knowledge, and to motivate for acquiring the new.

At the planning stage, one will develop the project at hand as it is senseless to waste money and time on a pilot one. Firstly, the project will be approved by the community legislation and acceptance. Then, the budget will be developed including all the expenses concerning the project designing and implementation. There will be some procedures made to determine management staff for budgeting and accounting operation and coordination staff to supervise and to monitor the project completion at each step. All necessary resources and equipment will be purchased to ensure the success of the project. The deadline will be set, and the time charts will be developed to accomplish each step of the project timely and to monitor its implementation process. After the preparation is finishes, the final assessment of the project needs will be made before its implementation. The last part of this study concerns the evaluation of the project outcomes. In other words, it will be estimated whether students are motivated to study and to treat themselves and peers in the right way. It is critical to receive feedback of the project to compare the impact and outcome, and to make a conclusion whether the project strategies are effectives to solve behavioral problem among young, or there is a need to develop alternative approaches.

References

Gochman, D. S. (1997). Handbook of health behavior research. New York, NY: Springer.

Hawkins, J.D., & Weis, J.G. (1985). The Social Development Model: An Integrated Approach to Delinquency Prevention. The Journal of Primary Prevention, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 73-97.

Niolon, R. (n.d.). Erikson’s Psychological Stages of Development. Resources for Students and Professors. Retrieved from http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/person/erikson.html

Timmreck, T. (2003). Planning, Program Development, and Evaluation (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Witte, K. (1994). Fear Control and Danger Control: A Test of the Extended Parallel Process Model. Communication Monographs, Vol. 61, Iss. 2, pp. 113-134.

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