Food for the Hungry Logo Barrier Analysis: A Tool for Improving Behavior Change Communication in Child Survival and Community Development Programs
Background Information
What is Barrier Analysis
Behavior change theory
Seeing the need
Fisherman story
Seven steps
The "Exercise" exercise
How to Conduct Barrier Analysis

Masai villagers shaking hands

  Cues for Action

"Can I remember to do it?"

Another determinant is whether or not the person can (1) remember to do the preventive action, and (2) remember the steps involved in doing the preventive action. Another name for this barrier is "cues for action." A cue is something that helps you remember something else. If someone cannot remember to do an action, or cannot even remember the action itself, then that person’s knowledge of and opinion about the action (e.g., whether it works) does not matter.


  • The old fisherman could not remember that he had stopped smoking, and he started smoking again. Forgetting behaviors is probably more common in small daily behaviors (e.g., giving snacks to a child, flossing) rather than one like smoking.

  • Now our mother thinks that her child can get dehydrated (1), that dehydration is a severe problem (2), that ORS prevents dehydration (3), and that it is easy to make (4), but when her child has diarrhea, she forgets to use it and instead takes her child to the clinic, four hours away! Or maybe another mother would forget how to mix up the recipe for ORS even though she wanted to make it.

    What could we do to help the mother remember how to make ORS and that they should make ORS? Maybe we need to have mothers repeat the message several times, especially right before and during the diarrhea season. We also need to take into account when the person is ready to learn (i.e. “teachable moments”) and teach people during those moments. Another alternative would be to give each mother one or two packets of ORS to keep in her kitchen as a reminder to use it. We could also teach mothers a song about how to make packet ORS.

Determinants Introduction
Perceived Susceptibility
Perceived Severity
Perceived Action Efficacy
Perceived Social Acceptability
Perceived Self-Efficacy
Cues for Action
Perception of Divine Will
Negative and Positive Attributes
Determinant Exercises


Next (Perception of Divine Will)

Food for the Hungry Logo

© November 2004

Home Site Map Contact Us