Knowledge does not always result in the adoption of recommended behaviors that can prevent or detect illness. This article synthesizes the research of psychologists, health advocates, and other social scientists to identify the factors other than knowledge that influence decisions regarding healthful behaviors. The article also presents guidelines to help Extension personnel optimize messages and programs designed to encourage preventive health behaviors based on findings concerning (a) perceptions of risks; (b) perceptions of self; (c) environmental conditions, both physical and social; and (d) perceptions of costs and benefits of recommended behavior.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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