Social Cognitive Theory – Food&Nutrition Example

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"Social Cognitive Theory"  is a wonderful example of a paper on food and nutrition.   Social Cognitive Theory is vital when designing a nutrition intervention program. According to Dreeben-Irimia (2010), people acquire and maintain certain behavioral patterns, at the same time, providing the basis for intervention strategies (p. 189). These patterns are affected by three main factors that frequently manipulate each other which are; environment, personal behavior and personal factors (Bandura, 2004). Health behavior targeted for change Avoiding junk food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the health pattern that I am targeting. I aim to change my behavior first by performing a self-evaluation.

This is the plan to do by reassessing my beliefs, knowledge, and feelings about a, particularly unhealthy meal. Moreover, I will perform environmental re-evaluation. Environmental conditions, both social and physical are external to an individual, by offering opportunities and social support. In my case, social media, family, and friends have played a significant role in my social environment by being as motivational mentors. In relation to the physical environment, I learned that I had to avoid certain foods. I have also committed myself to eat vegetables and fruits on a daily basis (Contento, 2011). The process using the capabilities of the SCT and how my behavior change can be guided The environment together with the situation provides the framework for understanding behavioral change.

Situation refers to a person’ s perception of time, physical features and activity (Ebner & Schiefner, 2010). The judgment of the environment and situation is essential in correcting misperceptions and promoting healthful behavior that I aim to adjust in my life. Other factors influencing my behavior and performance change are personal goals and health-related expectations.

This implies having objective goals for the desired outcome generates plans of action. An excellent example of an action plan is planning healthy meals. Moreover, goals also create a platform for Dos and Don'ts. For a positive outcome, goals have to be in conjunction with self-control, monitoring and personal regulation (Goodson, 2010). Through monitoring and regulation, I will be able to keep track of my weight, calorie usage, and intake. I intend to obtain behavioral learning/modeling from watching the actions and outcomes of others including role models. This has led me to gain the knowledge and skills I require to avoid an unhealthy meal.

In addition, determining whether those deeds are rewarded or punished promotes self-incentives. In reference to the SCT, the consequences are more successful if the model has characteristics similar to mine, or is particularly attractive or powerful. Level of confidence in changing my health behavior According to Bandura (2004), self-efficacy affects a person’ s confidence, so that they can emerge the best in a challenging situation; this is related to self-efficacy. Other than directly affecting self-efficacy, sources of information are weighed and filtered via a process known as cognitive appraisal.

For instance, a prior failure (gaining undesirable weight) may not be detrimental to self-efficacy if I believe that there is some irrelevant reason for the poor performance, for example, eating junk food (French & British Psychological Society, 2010). I plan to change the ill health behavior that I had acquired in small steps, to ensure success. I plan to do by applying concepts of self-motivation and self-control. This is because unless I believe that my actions can produce the outcomes I desire, I will have little motivation to perform my planned course of action or persevere in the face of difficulties.

From the skills and knowledge that I have gained from my environment, I am confident that I will be able to manage my actions and choices to acquire my goals.


Bandura, A. (2004). Health promotion by social cognitive means. Health Education & Behavior,

31, 143-164.

Contento, I. R. (2011). Nutrition education: Linking research, theory, and practice. Sudbury,

Mass: Jones and Bartlett.

Dreeben-Irimia, O. (2010). Patient education in rehabilitation. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and

Bartlett Publishers.

Ebner, M., & Schiefner, M. (2010). Looking toward the future of technology-enhanced

education: Ubiquitous learning and the digital native. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

French, D., & British Psychological Society. (2010). Health psychology. Chichester, West

Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Goodson, P. (2010). Theory in health promotion research and practice: Thinking outside the

box. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett.

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