Generality and Specificity in Health-Behavior: Application to Warning Label and Social Influence Expectancies

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Applied Behavior Analysis | Health Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Outcome expectancy constructs, also referred to as behavioral beliefs (see Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Bandura, 1977, 1986; Bolles, 1972; Leigh, 1989), have been used to explain a number of health-related behaviors. These constructs have been found to be useful in both theory and practice. Theoretically, expectancy constructs have been incorporated into a variety of perspectives, including social learning (Bandura, 1986; Rotter, 1954), reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), and memory-based (Tolman, 1932) models of how expectancies influence behavior. Practically, attempts at expectancy or belief change have played a central role in efforts to prevent health-compromising behaviors (e.g., Kivlahan, Marlatt, Fromme, Coppel, & Williams, 1990; Pentz et al., 1989), as well as in treatment strategies that focus on these behaviors (Marlatt, & Gordon, 1985).

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© 1993 American Psychological Association