Predicting men’s intentions to seek help for cancer symptoms: a comparison of the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Belief Model

Jennifer A. Fish, Ivanka Prichard, Kerry Ettridge, Elizabeth A. Grunfeld, Carlene Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Targeted behavioural interventions are needed to address psychosocial factors leading to slower help-seeking for cancer symptoms among men. This study compared the variance in men’s help-seeking intentions explained by the Theory of Planned Behaviour and Health Belief Model. Method: A cross-sectional survey of 127 men was conducted, testing symptom knowledge and theory-derived constructs from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (attitudes, perceived norms, perceived behavioural control) and Health Belief Model (susceptibility, severity, benefits, barriers). The outcome variable was intention to seek help for cancer symptoms. Separate and combined hierarchical regressions tested the relative predictive power of the two models, potential overlap in variance explained, and the most salient constructs within the models. Results: Separate regressions (controlling for age and symptom knowledge) showed each model explained 10–12% variance in men’s help-seeking intentions over and above the adjusted variables. The combined regression indicated symptom knowledge, perceived benefits, and perceived behavioural control were significant predictors of men’s intentions (35% total variance explained). Conclusions: The Theory of Planned Behaviour and Health Belief Model may not be optimal models for explaining men’s help-seeking intentions for cancer symptoms, however, select constructs are important correlates. Future interventions may usefully target symptom knowledge, health beliefs, and control beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2022


  • Cancer
  • early detection
  • help-seeking behaviour
  • male
  • oncology
  • social cognitive models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this