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HP 300: Theoretical Principles of
Health Behavior

Fall, 2003

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Place: Taper Hall, room 208


Jennifer Unger, Ph.D. Anamara Ritt-Olson, Ph.D. Joel Milam, Ph.D.
(626) 457-4052 (626) 457-4094 (323) 865-0379


Ana Romero Enrique Ortega
  (626) 457-6611

Office Hours:Please contact us by email or phone to arrange an appointment.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the theories used in the field of health behavior research. Students will apply these theories to the design and evaluation of health promotion programs.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

1. Describe theories and predictors used to explain behavior at the individual, interpersonal and community/group levels.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of published research based on these theories and predictors.

3. Apply these concepts to health behavior issues.

4. Select appropriate intervention strategies to change health behavior s.

Course Requirements


Textbook: Glanz, Marcus & Rimer, (Eds). Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research and Practice (3rd edition). Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco. 1997.


Reader: Additional required readings are available at the Paper Clip
(231-746-1500) for purchase.

Exams - 2 exams, 15 points each

October 6 and November 5

• Multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short answer.
• Closed-book.
• Each exam will focus on the material presented since the previous exam, but a few questions will be cumulative.
• The TAs will conduct a review session before each exam.

Final Exam – 30 points

• Cumulative
• Same format as Exams 1 and 2

Paper – 20 points

Due: Monday, November 24

The paper is due at 12:00 PM, in the hands of one of the TAs. If you can’t come to class on the 24th, make sure the TAs get a paper copy before the 24th. You will lose 1 point for every day the paper is late.

• 10 pages minimum of text plus reference page(s).
• References should be in the APA style or other acceptable format.
• The paper should be double-spaced, 12-point font, Arial or Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, 8 ½ X 11-inch paper.
• You must have at least 8 references from peer reviewed journals. Popular press, websites, class notes are NOT acceptable as references. Choose references that are not already cited in the textbook.


The goal of the paper is to build your own model using the models and theories that we cover in class as the basis.

• Choose a theoretical model that we discussed in class (e.g., Health Belief Model, Stages of Change). Review this model. Describe it in depth. What are the components of the model, and what do they mean?
o Choose a health behavior (e.g., smoking, physical activity, condom use).
o Choose a target population (e.g., college students, sedentary adults, Chinese-American women).
o Explain why this behavior is a problem in this population (e.g., use statistics cited in journal articles to show that soda consumption is a problem among adolescents).
o Explain why previous models and/or interventions have failed to solve the problem. In what ways were those models or interventions limited?
o Create a new model that builds upon the one you have just critiqued. You can bring in components from other models to improve the one you have just discussed.
o Explain why you think it’s a good idea to apply your model to this problem.
o Describe the components of the model, and how you would operationalize them specifically for this population and this behavior. You should provide a diagram of the new model.
o Describe a study that could be conducted to test this model in this population.
o Who would be the subjects?
o Where and how would they be recruited?
o How would you collect information from them?
o What information would you collect?
o What are your theoretical hypotheses?
o What do you expect your results to be?
o What are some potential problems that could affect the success of your study, and how could you prevent them?

Article Days – 15 points

On September 29, October 29, and December 1, we will discuss the articles in the reader.
To prepare for Article Days, write a short summary about each article (approximately 1 page per article, double-spaced). Include the following information in your summaries:
a. What was the target behavior?
b. What was the population?
c. Which theory (or theories) did the investigators use to make their hypotheses?
d. What were the hypotheses?
e. Were the hypotheses supported?
f. Overall, did the results support the theory?

Class participation – 5 points

This is more than just attendance. This class is large, but we expect that you will have read the chapters before class and will participate in discussions.


Information, announcements, and grades will be available on Blackboard. To sign up for blackboard, go to and use your USC email ID and password. The code for this course is 20033_HP_300_52572.


Exam 1 grade ____ out of 15 points 97+ = A+
Exam 2 grade ____ out of 15 points 93-96.9 = A
Exam 3 grade ____ out of 30 points 90-92.9 = A-
Paper Grade ____ out of 20 points 87-89.9 = B+
Article Report #1 ____ out of 5 points 83-86.9 = B
Article Report #2 ____ out of 5 points 80-82.9 = B-
Article Report #3 ____out of 5 points 77-79.9 = C+
Class participation ____out of 5 points 73-76.9 = C
TOTAL ____out of 100 points 70-72.9 = C-
  67-69.9 = D+
  63-66.9 = D
  60-62.9 = D-
  <60 = F


Day Date Lecture Instructor Reading
Mon Aug 25 Introduction Unger/Ritt-Olson/Milam/TAs Syllabus
Wed Aug 27 Linking theory, research, and practice Unger Glanz chap 1 and 2
Mon Sep 1 Labor Day - no class -    
Wed Sep 3 Health Belief Model Unger Glanz chap 3
Mon Sep 8 Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior Milam Glanz chap 4
Wed Sep 10 Precaution Adoption Process Model Unger Glanz chap 6
Mon Sep 15 Transtheoretical Model / Stages of Change Ritt-Olson Glanz chap 5
Wed Sep 17 Stress and Coping Milam Glanz chap 10
Mon Sep 22 Positive Psychology and Health Milam Snyder & Lopez chap 42; Chang chap 6
Wed Sep 24 Cognitive Perspectives Guest Chapter 1: Manuscript organization Handout; Peterson & Bossio, Chapter 6; Tennen & Affleck Chapter 42
Mon Sep 29 Article Day All Kassem, Lee, et al. article; Volk & Koopman article; Carlson, Taenzer, et al., article; Hogben, St. Lawrence, et al. article.
Wed Oct 1 Review for Exam 1 Ortega, Romero  
Mon Oct 6 Exam 1 Ortega, Romero  
Wed Oct 8 Social Cognitive Theory Milam Glanz Chap 8
Mon Oct 13 Social Networks / Social Support Ritt-Olson Glanz Chap 9
Wed Oct 15

Social Influence and Interpersonal Communication

Ritt-Olson Glanz chap 11
Mon Oct 20 Special topic Ritt-Olson Brown, Dolcini, Leventhal, Chapter 7; Unger, Sussman, & Dent article.
Wed Oct 22 Community organization and community building Ritt-Olson Glanz chap 13
Mon Oct 27 Diffusion of Innovations Unger/Palmer Glanz chap 14
Wed Oct 29 Article Day All Slater article; Wallace, Buckworth, et al. article; Unger, Kipke, et al. article.
Mon Nov 3 Review for Exam 2 Ortega/Romero  
Wed Nov 5 Exam 2 Ortega/Romero  
Mon Nov 10 Theories of organizational change Milam Glanz chap 15
Wed Nov 12 Communication theory / media studies Unger Glanz chap 16
Mon Nov 17 PRECEDE-PROCEED Ortega/Romero Glanz chap 18
Wed Nov 19 Social Marketing Ritt-Olson Glanz chap 19
Mon Nov 24 Ecological Models Milam Glanz chap 20
Wed Nov 26 Gene/environment interactions Unger Plomin chapters in reader
Mon Dec 1 Article day All Hafstad, Aaro, & Langmark article; Valente, Kim, et al. article; Tyndale article.
Wed Dec 3 Review for final exam Ortega/Romero  
Fri Dec12 Final Exam (8:00-10:00 AM) Ortega/Romero  

Reading List

September 24

Chapter 1: Content and Organization of a Manuscript. (Handout)

Peterson, C., Bossio, L.M. (2001). Chapter 6: Optimism and Physical Well-Being. In Chang, E.C. (Ed.), Optimism & Pessimism: Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice. (pp. 127-145). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Tennen, H., Affleck, G., (2002). Chapter 42: Benefit-Finding and Benefit-Reminding. In Snyder C.R., Lopez, S.J. (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology. (pp. 584-597). New York, New York: Oxford University Press.

September 29, Article Day

Kassem, N.O., Lee, J.W., Modeste, N.N., Johnston, P.J. (2003). Understanding soft drink consumption among female adolescents using the theory of planned behavior. Health and Education Research, 18 (3), 278-291.

Volk, J.E., Koopman, C. (2001). Factors associated with condom use in Kenya: A test of the health belief model. AIDS Education and Prevention, 13 (6), 495-508.

Carlson, L.E., Taenzer, P., Koopmans, J., Casebeer, A. (2003). Predictive value of aspects of the transtheoretical model on smoking cessation in a community-based large group cognitive behavioral program. Addictive Behaviors, 28, 725-740.

Hogben, M., St. Lawrence, J.S., Hennessy, M.H., Eldridge, G.D. (2003). Using the theory of planned behavior to understand the STD risk behaviors of incarcerated women. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30 (2),187-209.

October 20

Brown, B.B., Dolcini, M. M., Leventhal, A. Chapter 7: Transformation in peer Relationships at Adolescence: Implications for Health-Related Behavior. Peer Tranformations,161-185.

Unger, J.B., Sussman, S., Dent, C.W. (2003). Interpersonal conflict tactics and substance us among high-risk adolescents. Addictive Behaviors, 28, 979-987.

October 29

Slater, M.D. (2003). Senstation-seeking as a moderator of the effects of peer influences, consistency with personal aspirations, and perceived harm on marijuana and cigarette use among younger adolescents. Substance Use & Misuse, 38 (7), 865-880.

Wallace, L.S., Buckworth, J., Kirby, T.E., Sherman, W.M. (2000). Characteristics of exercise behavior among college students: Application of social cognitive theory of predicting stage of change. Preventive Medicine, 31, 494-505.

Unger, J.B., Kipke, M.D., Simon, T.R., Johnson, C.J., Montgommery, S.B., Iverson, E. (1998). Stress, coping, and social support among homeless youth. Journal of Adolescent Research 13 (2), 134-157.

November 26

Chapter 1: Overview. (2001). In Plomin, R., DeFries, J.C., McClearn, G.E., McGuffin, P. (Eds.) Behavioral Genetics. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Chapter 2: Mendel’s Laws of Heredity. (2001). In Plomin, R., DeFries, J.C., McClearn, G.E., McGuffin, P. (Eds.) Behavioral Genetics. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Chapter 5: Nature, Nurture, and Behavior. (2001). In Plomin, R., DeFries, J.C., McClearn, G.E., McGuffin, P. (Eds.) Behavioral Genetics. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Chapter 13: Health Psychology and Aging. (2001). In Plomin, R., DeFries, J.C., McClearn, G.E., McGuffin, P. (Eds.) Behavioral Genetics. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

December 1

Hafstad, A., Aaro, L.E., Langmark, F. (1996). Evaluation of an anti-smoking mass mediacampaign targeting adolescents: the role of affective responses and interpersonal communication. Health Education Research, 11, (1) 29-38.

Valente, T.W., Kim, Y.M., Lettenmaier, C., Glass, W., Dibba, Y. (1994). Radio promotion of family planning in the Gambia. International Family Planning Perspectives, 20, 96-100.

Tyndale, R. (2003). Genetics of alcohol and tobacco use in humans. Annals of Medicine, 35, 94-121.

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