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

  Perception of Divine Will

"Is it God's will (or the gods’ will) that I

  • should not have the problem, or

  • that I overcome the problem?"

Another determinant is if the person believes that it is God's will (or the gods’ will) for him or her to have the problem and to not overcome it. Another name for this barrier is "perception of Divine will." If someone believes that it is not God's will that they avoid or be released from a disease or problem, they may not do anything to try to avoid or be released from it themselves.


  • A family who does not try to feed a newborn with a club foot thinking that it is God's will that the child dies.

  • A person who believes that “when your time comes, your time comes” or “God is punishing me” and consequently does not do anything to try to slow the progression of HIV/AIDS through antiretroviral treatment (even when it’s available).

This determinant can also be turned around into a positive attribute of the action. If someone believes that it is God’s will that they do a particular behavior, they may be more likely to do it. You could ask people why they believe the behavior is within God’s will, and use their response when promoting the behavior with others. For example, if someone said that they believed in constructing latrines because covering feces was promoted in the Bible (Deuteronomy 23:13), you could remind other Christians of that verse when promoting latrines. The same could be done with other religious groups’ sacred writings.

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 (Negative and Positive Attributes)

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© November 2004

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