Jonathan Isaac Robison PhD, MS


Why “Getting People to Change” Should Not Be the Primary Goal of Health Education & Promotion

Traditionally, health education and promotion have focused on helping people identify and eliminate “unhealthy” habits. The role of the health educator/promoter has been to provide information, motivation and positive reinforcement to “get people” to change.  Unfortunately, there is little evidence that even the best theory-based, health promotion interventions result in long-term change for the majority of people involved. Furthermore, these approaches often engender potentially iatrogenic consequences that may contribute to a decreased likelihood of change and a poorer quality of life for some people.  This presentation will: 1) critique the appropriateness of behavior change as the primary goal of health education and promotion efforts, 2) introduce the rationale and benefits of substituting alternative goals, and 3) explore the consequences for the role of the health professional.


Jonathan Robison, Ph.D., MS
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
Adjunct Associate Professor, Western Michigan University
Phone: (517) 507-0287

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