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

  Perceived Self-Efficacy

"Is it easy to do (especially in terms of skills, access, time, and money)?"

Another determinant is whether or not the person thinks the preventive action is (or would be) easy for him or her to do. Another name for this barrier is "perceived self-efficacy." If a person thinks that an action is very difficult to do, he or she may not do it. This includes (but is not limited to) having the required

  1. Ability (skills or knowledge),
  2. Access (e.g., to services, supplies), and
  3. The “costs” in terms of time and money


  • The old fisherman said that it was too difficult to quit smoking. He did not know a good method for quitting.

  • Let's say that a mother thinks that her child can get dehydrated, that dehydration is serious, that ORS works to prevent it, and her family is in favor of it, but she thinks that it is too difficult to make. She probably will not use it. The same is often true with boiling water for purification (i.e., too much time and firewood are required for many people to do this).

    What could we do to make boiling water easier? Boil it with a lid; it takes much less time. Also, we could look into why it is so difficult for people. We may suggest that people use the last bit of hot coals to boil the water once they have finished cooking, and save the water for the next day. The presence of this barrier should lead us to think of creative ways to decrease the amount of time, money, or other resources needed to do the behavior.

This determinant can also be turned around into a positive attribute of the action. If someone really enjoys and feels skilled at doing a particular behavior (e.g., preparing nutrient-dense meals), he/she may be more likely to do it.

You can ask them what made them feel confident in their ability to do it, and use their response when promoting the behavior with others. For example, a person may say that preparing ORS in the presence of a CHW (the first time they made it) made him or her feel better prepared to do it on their own.

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 (Cues for Action)

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© November 2004

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