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...
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