Standard 5. Theory-Based Practice
5.2 Design and implement health promotion initiatives that are guided by accepted theoretical frameworks and planning models.
I equate developing an initiative without a theory or planning model to building a house without a blue print or a foundation. It’s especially critical when developing new strategies for which a strong literature base is lacking. Rather than blindly planning an initiative, theory and planning models provide a framework that allows us to propose, predict, and explain expected outcomes. We used a logic model when developing an initiative to address sleep behaviors among our students which allowed us to link our program inputs to outputs and outcomes. The logic model also helped us create practical strategies and keep our evaluation plan central to the intervention design. We used a combination of theories to address behavior change at the individual, interpersonal, and environmental levels. Constructs from Stages of Change guided the development of a web-based sleep assessment with personalized feedback and we used Diffusion of Innovations to predict the adoption of new strategies. We approached the intervention through the lens of the social-ecological model and proposed environmental & policy changes to impact students sleep. I attribute the success of this initiative, as validated by our evaluation data, to our utilization of theory and planning models from the onset.
– Susan R. Hochman, Assistant Director for Health Promotion and Public Information, University Health Services, The University of Texas at Austin
5.3 Evaluate whether theories are successfully realized in program activities and expected results are achieved.
A sound evaluation plan can tell us whether we have achieved our desired learning and performance objectives for behavioral and environmental outcomes. Theory-based evaluation helps us to understand how and why a program succeeds or fails to achieve results. Consider a health promotion initiative that aims to increase the percentage of students who choose to seek help at the university counseling center when they experience depression symptoms. This initiative could be grounded in Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and include programmatic activities with regard to observational learning and self-efficacy. The evaluation questions would examine the theoretical chains of assumption that link mediated modeling and self-efficacy to help-seeking for depression symptoms. Overall the evaluation helps us to understand the degrees to which the theoretical components or external contextual factors may be responsible for whether or not the initiative succeeds or fails to achieve results.
– Gina Baral Abrams, Special Assistant to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Lehigh University
Standards in Action!
- Standard 1: Alignment with the Missions of Higher Education
- Standard 2: Socioecological-Based Practice
- Standard 3: Collaborative Practice
- Standard 4: Cultural Competency
- Standard 5: Theory-Based Practice
- Standard 6: Evidence-informed Practice
- Standard 7: Continuing Professional Development and Service