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 Susceptibility

"Can I get the disease?” or "Could that problem happen to me?”

One of the important determinants is whether or not a person believes that the problem could happen to him or her. Another name for this barrier is "perceived susceptibility." If people think that they cannot get a particular disease or have a particular problem, they often will NOT take action to prevent it.


  • In the story, the old fisherman thought that he could NOT get cancer because his family was very strong and healthy. For that reason, he did not quit smoking.

  • If a mother thinks that her child could not become dehydrated when the child has diarrhea, then she may not use ORS.

  • If a man thinks that AIDS is a disease of homosexuals only—and he is not gay—then he will probably not do anything (like remaining faithful in marriage or using condoms) to prevent AIDS.
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 Severity)


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© November 2004

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