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Predicting men’s intentions to seek help for cancer symptoms: a comparison of the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Belief Model

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-28, 02:56 authored by JA Fish, I Prichard, K Ettridge, EA Grunfeld, Carlene WilsonCarlene Wilson
Objective: Targeted behavioural interventions are needed to address psychosocial factors leading to slower help-seeking for cancer symptoms among men. This study compared the variance in men’s help-seeking intentions explained by the Theory of Planned Behaviour and Health Belief Model. Method: A cross-sectional survey of 127 men was conducted, testing symptom knowledge and theory-derived constructs from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (attitudes, perceived norms, perceived behavioural control) and Health Belief Model (susceptibility, severity, benefits, barriers). The outcome variable was intention to seek help for cancer symptoms. Separate and combined hierarchical regressions tested the relative predictive power of the two models, potential overlap in variance explained, and the most salient constructs within the models. Results: Separate regressions (controlling for age and symptom knowledge) showed each model explained 10–12% variance in men’s help-seeking intentions over and above the adjusted variables. The combined regression indicated symptom knowledge, perceived benefits, and perceived behavioural control were significant predictors of men’s intentions (35% total variance explained). Conclusions: The Theory of Planned Behaviour and Health Belief Model may not be optimal models for explaining men’s help-seeking intentions for cancer symptoms, however, select constructs are important correlates. Future interventions may usefully target symptom knowledge, health beliefs, and control beliefs.


Financial support was provided to the lead author by Flinders University through the Flinders University Research Scholarship and the Australian Government through the Research Training Scheme.


Publication Date



Australian Journal of Psychology






(p. 1-10)


Taylor & Francis



Rights Statement

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.