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Course Catalog

410.618.01 Integrating Social and Behavioral Theory Into Public Health

Health Behavior and Society
1st term
4 credits
Academic Year:
2013 - 2014
East Baltimore
Class Times:
  • M W,  3:30 - 5:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Lawrence Wissow
Course Instructor:

Introduces students to the ecologic framework of health behavior that integrates perspectives from anthropology, sociology, and cognitive sciences. Uses a combination of lectures, readings, discussions, and small group exercises to make the case that health behaviors often must be viewed simultaneously at multiple ecologic levels in order to craft effective interventions. Includes discussion of socio-economic status, culture, and race at the macro ecologic level, social networks and social capital at the mezzo level, and influences on rational decision-making at the micro level.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the role of theory in explaining health behavior and behavior change, including its application to public health interventions
  2. Take a challenging health behavior and describe from multiple theoretical vantage points the forces potentially shaping it or offering opportunities for interventions
  3. Assess how constructs from different theories relate to each other and select appropriate theories based on audience characteristics, health issues, and desired behavior change
  4. Apply different theories to interventions, depending on the ecological levels at which the problems are framed and solutions proposed
Methods of Assessment:

Written mid-term and final exams, small-group projects

Instructor Consent:

No consent required