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

  Determinants: Factors that Influence Our Decisions about Behaviors

What do you think is more important in terms of doing a behavior (e.g., exclusive breastfeeding): your motivation to do it (e.g., how much you think it will benefit your child) or the absence of things that block you from doing it (e.g., having a job that allows you to breastfeed your child every few hours throughout the day)?

Both can be quite important. There are two main categories of determinants that influence whether or not someone does a behavior: those things that hinder the person from doing the behavior (“barriers”) and those things that are enjoyable or beneficial about the behavior (“positive attributes of the action”).

As you work through the Barrier Analysis process, keep in mind that both of these things are important. In addition to reducing barriers for a given behavior, you will also need to look at ways to increase people’s motivation to do the behavior. Often, even without reducing barriers, you can significantly increase the proportion of people doing a behavior just by focusing on the positive attributes (i.e., telling people what is enjoyable or beneficial about the behavior).

You can visualize the relationship between the barriers and positive attributes of the action in this way:

Graphic of the Decision Balance

As we have said, there are many determinants (many of which are barriers) that influence our decisions about adopting behaviors. Let's look at each of these important determinants and how they influence our decisions in more depth.

In this exercise, when we talk about the "preventive action," we are referring to an action (or behavior) like "using ORS" (oral rehydration solution for diarrhea) or "planting crops in rows" or "brushing your teeth." These are actions that can prevent disease, prevent agricultural problems (e.g., low production), or other problems. As one of our examples, we will use the problem of dehydration caused by diarrhea and the preventive action of "using oral serum."

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 (Perceived Susceptibility)

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© November 2004

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