Understanding Health Attitudes and Behavior

Giovanni A Fava*, Fiammetta Cosci, Nicoletta Sonino, Jenny Guidi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Individual attitudes and behavior related to health and disease are major components of clinical encounters. These factors shape lifestyle, presentation of symptoms, access to patient care, interactions between patients and physicians, adherence to medical advice, response to treatment. Health attitudes and behavior may range from anxiety and worry about illness, to various forms of denial, such as delay of seeking care and lack of adherence to treatment. When attitudes result in health-damaging behavior they may be particularly difficult to understand and become a source of frustration to both physicians and patients. Devising appropriate responses by health care providers may contribute to improving final outcomes and decrease health care costs. In particular, health behavior is likely to play a major role in the process of convalescence, in self-management of chronic conditions, in determining a state of recovery, and whenever a rehabilitation process is involved. Understanding the spectrum of health attitudes and behavior is also crucial for motivating people to make beneficial changes (lifestyle medicine), as well as for implementing safety procedures in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-259
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date7 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Cite this