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Protection Motivation Theory

Protection Motivation Theory

Rogers (1983) proposed a model that has similarities with the TRA/TPB and HBM. His ‘protection motivation theory’ is a cognitive model based on expectancy-value principles and was originally developed as an explanation for the effects of ‘fear appeals’ in health behaviour change. It is a model of health decision-making wherein intentions are predicted from the following factors:

  • Perceived severity
    Perceived probability
    Efficacy of preventive behaviour
    Perceived self-efficacy

From these, the individual has appraised the threat and coping strategy that may lead to an intention to protect, and if it does, the model states that this leads to protective behaviour. The key area here for the hypnotist to address is the last one: perceived self-efficacy. It is necessary to take care with the other elements. Let’s take smoking cessation as an example, and the threat of lung cancer as the motivator. The client will have a perception of the severity and probability. The hypno-psychotherapist may have statistics that can be passed on, but these must be as accurate and objective as possible, or the hypnotist could risk inflating this side of the scales, that is encouraging a belief that the risk is too great to be addressed. Likewise, exaggerating the efficacy of a preventive behaviour can be damaging as it may lead to an inappropriate reliance. For example, if a client has a serious illness, exaggerating the effectiveness of hypnotism may lead to them ignoring conventional medicine to their detriment.

This model has a particular limitation. Godin (1994) states: “in general, messages conveying a persuasive threat seem effective in enhancing participants’ intention to change their behaviours, but they are less effective in inducing and sustaining changes in behavior.”

Entity and incremental views
Dweck (1992) has differentiated between two clusters of beliefs that underpin people’s judgements and actions. Those that subscribe to the view that a particular attribute is fixed and relatively stable hold an ‘entity’ view and those that see the attribute as changeable and open to development hold an ‘incremental’ view.

Those who hold an entity view are more likely to have negative reactions, such as helplessness, when faced with achievement setbacks. Those with entity views are more likely to set ego goals, and those with incremental views are more likely to set task goals.

This theory is useful in building awareness. Few clients will be aware, when they arrive at the hypnotist’s office, whether they have an entity or incremental view! Nor will they be aware of their underlying processes, but by discovering this, you may be able to assist the client to find a way of being that is most beneficial for their

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