Promoting positive behaviors and self-image

Chudley Werch describes an image-based intervention for preventing substance abuse and promoting healthy habits

MOST ADOLESCENTS ARE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE multiple, co-occurring risk behaviors detrimental to their physical and mental health and personal development, and the combination of these behaviors can exacerbate health risks. However, although there are a plethora of effective interventions for preventing risk behaviors, the majority of evidence-based programs target a single behavior (e.g., cigarette smoking) or behavior category (e.g., substance abuse). There are also many programs shown to promote health-enhancing habits, but again these tend to focus on one area, such as physical activity or healthy eating.

What we know
● The majority of adolescents experience multiple co-occurring risk behaviors.
● The Behavior-Image Model (BIM) can be used to plan brief programs addressing both health risk and health-enhancing habits by targeting positive youth images.
● SPORT is a brief single-session image-based program based on BIM.
● We have shown that SPORT can prevent and reduce substance abuse, while increasing physical activity among adolescents.

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June 2012