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Using behavioral theories to study health-promoting behaviors in palliative care research

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Background: Behavioral theories are often used to better understand and change health-promoting behaviors and develop evidence-based interventions. However, researchers often lack of knowledge on how to use these theories in palliative care and people confronted with serious illness. Clear examples or guidelines are needed. Aim: To describe how behavioral theories can be used to gain insight into critical factors of health-promoting behavior in seriously ill people, using a case example of "starting a conversation about palliative care with the physician" for people with incurable cancer. Methods: We used a health promotion approach. Step 1: We chose a theory. Step 2: We applied and adapted the selected theory by performing interviews with the target population which resulted in a new behavioral model. Step 3: We operationalized the factors of this model. An expert group checked content validity. We tested the questionnaire cognitively. Step 4: We conducted a survey study and performed logistic regression analyses to identify the most important factors. Results: Step 1: We selected the Theory of Planned Behavior. Step 2: This theory was applicable to the target behavior, but needed extending. Step 3: The final survey included 131 items. Step 4: Attitudinal factors were the most important factors associated with the target behavior of starting a conversation about palliative care with the physician. Conclusions: This paper describes a method applied to a specific example, offering guidance for researchers and practitioners interested in understanding and changing a target behavior and its factors in seriously ill people.
ISSN: 1477-030X
Issue: 3
Volume: 37
Pages: 402 - 412
Publication year:2023