Barriers and Facilitators to Behavior Change

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It is crucial to know what prevents or encourages the priority audience to practice the desired behavior. Barriers to change prevent or make it difficult for an individual to adopt a behavior and come in many forms such as emotional, societal, structural, educational, and familial. Some important barriers to consider include:

Habit: People are comfortable doing things the same way they have always done them.
Fear: People expect change to bring negative consequences.
Negative experience: Some audiences may have had a bad experience, such as with the health care system, and thus may be cynical or resistant to change. 

If the desired behavior requires adopting/utilizing products or services, consider issues of availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability.


Are the services or products needed to adopt the desired behavior available to the priority audience on a regular basis?


Is it socially (and within the family) acceptable for the priority audience to get and use the services or products? What are the existing practices and traditions in the community about the issue?


Is the priority audience realistically able to get and use the services or products needed to adopt the desired behavior? Are they likely to take the time and effort to access the service?


Can the priority audience afford (in terms of time, inconvenience, costs and actual money spent) the services and products need to adopt the desired behavior?

It is also important to look at facilitators of change – emotional, societal, structural, educational, familial – that make is easier for an individual or group of individuals to adopt a behavior. Looking at what already works or eases the process may be the key to changing a specific behavior.

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