Social Cognitive Theory and Stress Management Social Essay

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Social Cognitive Theory and Stress Management

Social cognitive theory hypothesizes that people learn through observation: by examining their environment and seeing the behavior of others, people can then determine for themselves how best to adjust their behavior. Health educators and instructional designers often incorporate social cognitive theory into training when a learning outcome is behavioral change (Baranowski, Perry, & Parcel, 2002).

Since the late 1990s, studies increasingly have addressed the impact of stress on health (Brown & Vanable, 2008), and stress management is one area of health education that may benefit from a social cognitive approach.

This essay reviews examples of social cognitive learning being used in health education and examines the pros and cons of applying this theory to training in stress management.

Practical Examples of Social Cognitive Theory

One review of stress management courses for people living with HIV found a range of social cognitive-based training components, including exercises for encouraging self-driven problem-solving and improving people's self-perception of their stress (Brown & Vanable, 2008).
Studies that reviewed the effectiveness of these lessons found improvements in various markers of stress, such as lowered levels of depression and anxiety (Brown & Vanable, 2008).

Social cognitive theorist Albert Bandura (2004) reports on a study that found the participants following self-managed, cognitive-based training saw a greater reduction in cholesterol than the participants who received no training. Notably, the participants with the most significant reductions in cholesterol had their spouses also involved in the training, which illustrates the importance of both individual and society that social cognitive theory promotes.

Another example reported in the literature is a curriculum developed to increase children's consumption of fruit, juice, and vegetables. Social cognitive components in the lessons include goal-setting, positive reinforcement, and observing the teacher's own dietary changes (Baranowski, et al., 2002).

Pros and Cons of the Social Cognitive Theory

An advantage of the social cognitive theory is that….....

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