A behavioral science perspective in the comparative approach to the delivery of health care

Hazel Hitson Weidman, Janice A. Egeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper, written from a national point of view (that of the United States) has international applicability. It focuses upon problems in the delivery of health care. By suggesting a behavioral science approach to such matters, it offers a better means of raising health levels than other discipline-bound efforts to date. The paper is divided into six parts. Part one addresses itself to the importance of a behavioral science perspective by critiquing several key references which bear directly on the health services system. Part two guides the reader to the available anthropological and sociological literature on health behavior. It comments on the inadequacy of each. Part three provides a description of the comparative approach to health behavior and suggests the extent to which methodological refinements have been made in recent years. Part four discusses the application of the comparative approach to the delivery of health care issue. Part five stresses the magnitude of the need for a behavioral science perspective requiring simultaneous attention to multiple disciplinary dimensions. Part six refers to the behavioral science perspective in specific program settings in the United States, suggesting that this approach will assume an indispensable role in the national effort of evaluation of the health care system. In conclusion, the point is made that a behavioral science perspective as applied to health evaluation adds the important dimension of viewing the medical care crisis as more than a question of availability and efficiency. It is more than the rendering of services in a medical context ... the common spirit of the behavioral perspective is to protect the differing value profiles of all participants in the caring process and hence to demonstrate that it is the caring, in a human context, that is the central issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-860
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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