Application of Social Behavioral Science in Public Health

August 5, 2022 | Sarah Wambua

Application of Social Behavioral Science in Public Health

Application of Social Behavioral Science in Public Health
Klein Behavioral Science Consultants > Assessment > Application of Social Behavioral Science in Public Health
  • Posted by: Sarah Wambua

Public health experts study and apply specialized theories to address public health issues. The primary aim is to prevent diseases and promote and prolong life. One of the essential disciplines used by health experts is social behavioral science. A general understanding of social behavioral science provides a crucial tool for developing public health initiatives. Furthermore, this concept aims to understand human behavior and mannerisms and their driving forces. 

Application of Social Behavioral Science in Public Health

What is social behavioral science?

In a nutshell, social behavioral science studies human behavior’s effects on actions, decisions, personal thoughts, and interactions. A deeper understanding of this theory is a powerful tool to influence individual health choices. For instance, the majority of chronic diseases result from personal behaviors such as smoking. Addressing these behaviors may control or prevent illnesses from leading risk factors.

Some behaviors that affect a person’s well-being include sleeping habits, diet, alcohol consumption, and activity levels. With this in mind, it is easier to understand the psychology and motivation behind these practices. Health experts develop strategic initiatives to shift from such behaviors to improve health.

What influences behavior 

Several factors influence choices and decisions, such as:

Behavioral influences

One’s values, attitude, culture, beliefs, and risk evaluation determine their choices.

Psychological influences 

Motivation is one of the critical aspects that determines what a person chooses to do. For example, unmet needs and self-belief are some of the factors that tend to influence behavior and choices.

Societal influences 

People tend to have a behavioral shift to fit into a particular social group. Also, others change their mannerisms to meet the demands of their social roles or supposed authority in a societal setting.

Biological influences

In this case, factors such as sex, genetics, and age influence an individual’s emotions and behavior. For instance, inherited genetic characteristics such as reticence and impulsiveness impact behavior.

Disciplines included in the field of behavioral science

Social behavioral science is a broad field with many umbrella disciplines that address human behavior. Any area that intends to establish a relationship between the human mind and behavior applies the theoretical study of behavioral science. These disciplines include

  • Biology
  • Sociology 
  • Social and cultural anthropology 
  • Criminology
  • Political science
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology

Behavioral science examples related to public health

Behavioral scientists study various human behaviors in a population. They gather data, analyze it, and write a report on their findings. In this regard, experts seek to find a better understanding of these behaviors and solutions to the same for public health experts. For instance, with the issue of the latest pandemic, behavioral science seeks to answer important questions such as:

  • What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on people of different socioeconomic backgrounds?
  • What influences people’s decisions to wear or not wear masks?

Currently, there is a study by social behavioral experts on teenagers’ increasing number of uncontrollable tics. Tics is a neurological disorder that causes uncontrolled twitching, movements, and sounds. It can also cause the use of foul language that the affected person cannot control. The rising cases have been evident via social media platforms and are also a cause for concern in the medical fraternity. Behavioral scientists have related the rise in tics to the effects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due to stress and anxiety. However, the reports are not conclusive as further research is underway.

Some of the problems behavioral scientists related to public health professionals include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Violence
  • Depression
  • Health risks
  • Substance abuse

Application of behavioral science in public health

As stated earlier, public health professionals study social behavioral science research data to understand public health issues. The knowledge gained from the research is useful in creating awareness and preventing diseases. Sometimes a health issue or concern arises only among a community due to various circumstances. In this case, awareness is necessary to control the risks and prevent the same occurrence in the future, even among other communities.

Application of Social Behavioral Science in Public Health

Research shows evidence that idleness increases high-risk behavior such as substance abuse. Professionals can identify idle youths and develop initiatives to curb the risk of dangerous behaviors. For instance, public health professionals tackling homelessness among youth in urban areas can initiate programs conversant with behavioral science research.

In addition, public health professionals also apply behavioral science to promoting sexual health. For instance, experts can use the research on behavior change practices to address issues of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.


This piece shows that social behavioral science is essential in addressing public health matters. Therefore, public health experts should embrace this science to promote a healthy society and a long life. At Klein Consultants, we have skilled professionals who create the best behavioral evaluations to help with the employment process. We then make it possible for you to hire people who will perform at the highest level. So, you can be sure of higher company sales, revenues, and profits while working with Klein Consultants.

Author: Sarah Wambua