Health promotion is a process of enabling individuals to improve their health conditions or increase their control over health conditions. Health promotions basically depend on a number of theories and models. A health promotion theory comprises of a set of related propositions that act as an explanation to a certain health condition.
The theory is introduced after a certain health condition has shown some uniformities and it is supposed to provide principles that will then provide a basis for explaining certain health phenomenon.
The most common theories used in the health intervention exercise are the theory of planned behavior and the social cognitive theory. Most theories have a subclass called a model that provides a plan for addressing a certain phenomenon.
Recent studies have indicated that there are a lot of disparities based on racial and ethnic groups in the mental health care. The priority population is those individuals who are suffering from mental illnesses and at the same time they belong to a minority race or ethnic group.
The problem of disparities in the mental health sector is evident in the gaps that exist in accessing health care, poor diagnostic practices and the provision of the optimum treatment is limited by race and ethnic group. Racial and ethnic differences have caused a lot of disparities in the diagnosis of mental illnesses and this has been extended to the treatment of the illness.
The major cause for these disparities is that practitioners and program administrators in the area of mental health judge people wrongly based on their race or ethnic group. This issue then leads to a lot of bias in the mental health sector.
There are many theories that can be used to develop an intervention to address the problem of bias in the mental health sector. The most common theories are the behavior theory, the change theory, policy theory and the community development theory.
The major difficulty experienced in these theories comes from the selection of a relevant theory and applying the theory in the practice but not from the insufficiency of the theory (Jackie, pp 125-129).
The complexity of the ecological views in the mental health sector makes it difficult for a single theory to deal with the issue and therefore it is necessary to use multiple theories. There are no guidelines that are used in the selection of the theory to be used or a combination of theories. Very little research has been done to provide a rationale for the selection of the appropriate theory to use in different situations. In this case the best theory to use is the behavioral change theory.
The theory of planned behavior is best suited for this case as it would change the perception of the health practitioners and eliminate the bias that exists in the mental health sector. There are many theories that would fit into this problem, for example the social cognitive theory would fit well however it would not clearly intervene in the problem and provide a solution to the problem. The social cognitive theory would not fit into this issue because it explains how people acquire and sustain behavioral patterns.
The theory provides a basis for developing intervention strategies and evaluation of the behavioral change. The social cognitive theory is best in the areas where a framework for conniving, executing and evaluating health programs and therefore the theory would not fit in this case. Selecting this theory in this case is the best fit because unlike other theories it describes the behavior and explains hoe the behavior could be changed to eliminate the bias in the mental health sector.
The social cognitive theory would have been chosen but it describes learning in terms of the relationship between the individual, environmental factors and the behavior. In this case there are no environmental factors that would interfere with the bias in the mental health sector. The theory of planned behavior can extensively cover the individual’s volitional behavior unlike the reasoned action theory which may not explain this issue.
The theory of planned behavior helps the individuals involved to understand how they can change the behavior of individuals and in this case the behavior of medical practitioners as related to biasness in offering mental health care. The theory also predicts deliberate behavior because some individuals may plan and deliberately initiate the biasness in the mental health care.
According to the theory of planned behavior human action is based on the following considerations: normative beliefs, behavioral beliefs and control beliefs. The normative beliefs describe the beliefs about the normal predictions of other people regarding the issue. Behavioral beliefs are the beliefs of the possible consequences that will arise after the need has been met. Control beliefs are the beliefs about the factors that may enhance or impede the intervention of the need; in this case it is those factors that would affect the intervention in the mental health sector.
The theory suggests that the behavior of an individual is determined by the individual’s intention to either perform or not perform the behavior. The intention is a function of the attitude that the individual has towards the behavior. The theory would best fit in developing the intervention as it would consider the effects of the past situation on the later behavior of the individuals involved; in this case the mental health practitioners.
This theory can also explain the relationship between the actual behavior and the intended behavior because it considers the predicted behavioral control. Several studies conducted have shown that this theory would help to predict behavioral intentions that are health related unlike the theory of reasoned action. The theory also considers the social norm of the individual which can help explain the social behavior of the individual regarding the bias in the mental health care (Aronson, Wilson and Akert, pp. 211-222).
The problem of disparities in the mental health sector can fit into this theory in that the theory has a conceptual model that can be used to solve the problem of disparities in the mental health sector.
The conceptual model comprises of the behavioral beliefs and in this case they are the beliefs that mental illness is popular in a certain race or ethnic group. The attitude towards this behavior is that the medical practitioners in this area will tend to carry out questionable diagnostic practices to people of a certain race or ethnic group.
The normative beliefs in this case is that mental illness should be considered as any other type of illness and all individuals treated in a common way and all the affected should have equal access to the treatment and the diagnosis.
The perceived control on the behavior in this case is that people from a certain race do not get the appropriate treatment and diagnosis to the illness; this should then be compared to the actual behavior so as to develop an intervention point in the issue (Ralph, Richard and Michelle, pp 124-132)
Aronson E., Wilson D. T and Akert M. R (2003), social psychology, 2nd Edition, Saddle River New Jersey, Prentice Hall Publishers, pp. 211-222
Jackie G., (April 2000) the role of theory in evidence-based health promotion practice, journal of health education research, Oxford University press, Vol.15, No.2 pp. 125-129
Ralph J. D., Richard A. C. and Michelle C. K (2002), Emerging theories in health promotion practice and research: strategies for improving public health, illustrated Edition, New York, John Wiley and Sons Publishers, pp 124-132