Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Gloria M. Francis


Health Risk Appriaisal (HRA) is gaining widespread popularity as a health promotion strategy. Yet there are limited studies to date to assess the impact of HRA on health behavior, particularly among young populations. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effectiveness of individual HRA results as a stimulus for young adults to pursue health promoting behavior. It was hypothesized that young adults exposed to the results of their personal HRA would demonstrate a significantly higher health habits change score than would young adults given the HRA, but not exposed to its results.

A pretest-posttest, control group design was used for the study. Thirty-six young adult volunteers ages 23 to 38 were randomly assigned to either the control or the treatment group. An investigator-designed Personal Health Habits Questionnaire (PHHQ) and HRA were completed by all subjects at an initial group meeting. The HRA questionnaires were then submitted to the Center for Disease Control — Atlanta for computer processing. At a second meeting for experimental subjects only, individual risk appraisals were distributed and guidelines for interpretation given. Six weeks later, at a third and final group meeting, the PHHQ was completed again by all subjects. Thirty subjects completed the study.

PHHQ pretest to posttest behavior change scores revealed a significant positive change in the experimental group's health behavior as compared with control subjects (Student's T Distribution, p ≤ .05). The greatest degree of positive health behavior change was seen in the areas of seatbelt usage, breakfast habits, and achievement of desirable weight for body height and frame in that order. Chi square analysis revealed that experimental subjects maintained a significantly higher proportion of positive health behavior than those who did not receive their HRA results (p ≤ .05). The generalizability of these findings is limited by the study's small sample size. However, HRA does seem to be a viable strategy for group health promotion activities in nursing practice. Replications of this investigation with larger probability samples are needed. Further study of educational and environmental interventions to enhance and sustain the impact of HRA on health behavior is also needed to develop a scientific basis for individual, group, and community nursing interventions concerned with primary prevention.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Included in

Nursing Commons