The fifth edition of Health Behavior – Theory, Research, and Practice by UPenn PRC Director Karen Glanz, PhD and MPH, and co-editors Barbara K, Rimer, a dean at the University of North Carolina, and K. Viswanath, a health communications expert at Harvard University, was recently released. The textbook has sold more than 250,000 copies in five languages.
“Every six years, we go through areas of the field that we think have really changed, and look for contributors who are the leaders in these areas,” Glanz says. They then ask each contributor to write an updated chapter on the health behavior theory within their expertise, its history and core components, and how it can be applied in research and practice.
Glanz says that research methods have grown more sophisticated since she published the first edition in 1990, with more complex statistical approaches and new ways of analyzing data. She also notes a significant expansion in the book’s audience, growing from public health and some nursing students with the first edition to include professionals in postgraduate medical education and a wide range of other disciplines.
“Every time we write the introduction of a new edition, we reflect on the global issues and events over the prior six years. For this latest edition, we considered the spread of pandemics such as Ebola. We have to know how to solve these problems,” she says, “and changing health behavior is a critical part of this work.”