Behavior-Image Model

beachMaking Prevention and Recovery Glamorous

The Behavior-Image Model (BIM) is the theoretical basis supporting the integration of wellness and prevention within single interventions.  BIM is a practical, proven evidence-based framework for planning brief motivational prevention and recovery interventions that target wellness behaviors and images.  BIM has been used in the development of nearly two dozen integrated interventions, including two evidence-based programs listed in the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (NREPP). 

BIM can be used to plan programs, materials, media campaigns, and entire strategies aimed at preventing risk behaviors while increasing health enhancing behaviors among youth and adults.  BIM is a road map for developing integrated resiliency-based interventions emphasizing wellness behavior and positive self-identity content. 

o-youth-sports-facebookBIM consists of two key components:

  1. Targeting appealing wellness images to link health risk and health promoting behaviors, and
  2. Developing self-regulation skills to set and achieve multiple health behavior goals.

Targeting Motivational Wellness Images of Youth and Adults

Wellness-based prevention interventions founded on BIM are designed to trigger naturally motivating appealing images of youth and adults using vivid, image-related words associated with each of the target wellness behaviors.  Gain-framed content is used to highlight benefits associated with participating in health enhancing behaviors.  Then, loss-framed content is used to illustrate the costs of engaging in risk habits by interfering with wellness behaviors and image achievement.

picture15An example of a gain-framed message promoting greater physical activity is: “People like you who exercise regularly tend to feel energetic, sleep better, and look more active, fit and confident.”  In comparison, a related loss-framed message targeting alcohol use and harming physical activity is: “Alcohol use can get in the way of participating in moderate exercise and achieving your fitness goals of being in-shape, looking good, and feeling fit and active.”

The use of images in prevention and health communication has a foundation in both theory and practice.  The use of image-related content to influence behavior change is supported by multiple conceptual models, including Social Cognitive Theory, the Prototype/Willingness Model, and developmental psychology of self-concept.  In addition, the use of appealing images has been a proven and central strategy for effectively influencing buying behavior since the early development of the advertising and marketing industries.  Today, positive images are used by multi-billion dollar companies to sell everything from clothing to cars.

hispanic man running and jumping from a wallTwo specific types of images are targeted in BIM.  One type is the social image or prototype.  The second image type is the future or desired image.  Both social/prototype and future/desired images are supported by research as influencing health behaviors and are therefore effective targets for motivating behavioral change.

Developing Self-Regulation Action Skills

BIM is also founded on self-regulation theory.  Wellness-based prevention and recovery interventions planned using BIM provide feedback to youth and adults regarding their current health behaviors, and the relations of their health habits to images. 

Meditation in desertThe discrepancy between these behaviors and social and future images are highlighted as possible action goals.  Participants are provided an opportunity to set and monitor goals to avoid risk habits while increasing wellness promoting habits.

Public commitment to goal setting is used to reduce discrepancy in wellness behaviors and related images, and increase discrepancy in substance use risk behaviors and images.  Participants sign a contract, along with implementers, increasing motivation and commitment to improving multiple health habits. 

Check out the PPW Logic Model today to learn more about how our wellness-based prevention programs work!