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The mediating role of self-efficacy in the relationship between premotivational cognitions and engagement in multiple health behaviors: a theory-based cross-sectional study among township residents in South Africa

Authors Tshuma N, Muloongo K, Nkwei ES, Alaba OA, Meera MS, Mokgobi MG, Nyasulu PS

Received 16 May 2016

Accepted for publication 27 September 2016

Published 17 January 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 29—39


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Ndumiso Tshuma,1,2 Keith Muloongo,1,2 Emile S Nkwei,3 Olufunke A Alaba,4 Maheedhariah S Meera,5,6 Maboe G Mokgobi,2 Peter S Nyasulu2,7

1Community AIDS Response, Norwood, Johannesburg, 2School of Health Sciences, Monash South Africa, Johannesburg, 3Osmoz Consulting, Johannesburg, 4School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; 5Department of Human Behaviour, College of Southern Nevada, Henderson, NV, 6University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA; 7School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Background: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are one of the major global health challenges in developed countries and are rapidly increasing globally. Perception of self-efficacy is important for complex activities and long-term changes in health behavior. This study aimed to determine whether self-efficacy mediates the effect of individual beliefs (perceived severity, susceptibility, benefits and barriers) among informal settlement residents’ health behavior in relation to the prevention and management of NCDs.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a closed-ended questionnaire among informal settlement residents in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. The proposed model was tested using structural equation modeling (AMOS software).
Results: A total of 2,277 participants were interviewed during this survey, consisting of 1,236 (54.3%) females, with the majority of them aged between 20 and 29 years. All constructs in the questionnaire had a good reliability with a Cronbach’s alpha of >0.7. Perceived benefits and perceived barriers were the strongest predictors of self-efficacy, with the highest beta values of 0.14 and 0.15, respectively. Once associated with perceived self-efficacy, the direct effect of perceived susceptibility and perceived benefits on health behavior was statistically nonsignificant (P=0.0894 and P=0.2839, respectively). Perceived benefits and perceived susceptibility were totally mediated by self-efficacy. The indirect effects of perceived severity and perceived barriers (through self-efficacy) on health behavior were significant. Thus, perceived severity and perceived barriers were partially mediated by self-efficacy.
Perceived susceptibility and perceived benefits did not affect health behavior unless associated with self-efficacy. In contrast, individual perception of the seriousness of NCDs and perceived barriers might still have a direct influence on health behavior even if the person does not feel able to prevent NCDs. However, this influence would be more significant when perceived severity and perceived barriers of NCDs are associated with self-efficacy.

Keywords: perceptions, Diepsloot township, health belief model, noncommunicable diseases, perceived susceptibility, perceived barriers

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