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From The CriticsReviewer: Karen E Peters, DrPH (University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health)
Description: The third edition of this handbook provides students and practitioners with the most complete and up-to-date resource on contemporary topics in the field of health behavior change. This area of inquiry has expanded rapidly since publication of the second edition in 2004, particularly in the areas of theory development, measurement, and the social context of behavior change.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an updated and expanded view of the theoretical and empirical literature on the factors that influence the adoption of healthy behaviors and the individual, interpersonal, social, and cultural factors that can inhibit or promote behavior change. The handbook addresses the need for an authoritative, transdisciplinary approach to examining current issues in this field.
Audience: "The editors are a distinguished panel of scholars who have assembled a recognized cadre of social scientists and health practitioners in the field of health behavior change. The handbook is written for graduate students of public or population health, health psychology, health communications, medical sociology, and anthropology. Advanced level undergraduates in the social sciences will also find it useful. In addition, behavioral and social scientists and practitioners will find it to be of value in supplementing their understanding of current theory and measurement issues.
Features: "The book is organized into seven sections covering theory, behavioral interventions, measurement, change and adherence issues related to chronic disease, specific populations, and implications of these in the broader contexts of ethics and the social determinants of health. Overall, the 40 chapters include the essential and well researched aspects of health behavior change, but the newer chapters on theories of prevention, health disparities and minority health, and community-based participatory research, and an entire section devoted to measurement as well as a concluding chapter on what we should not repeat, stand out as the major, innovative contributions.
Assessment: The publication of this third edition only four years after the last edition is well justified due to the tremendous progress that the health behavior change field has experienced. Despite limited increases in funding to conduct research in these areas, the field has continued to expand in both impact and contribution to improving the lives of individuals and the health of communities. The handbook captures these contributions and provides the basis for the continued growth and future directions of this ever expanding and exciting area of inquiry.