The construct of perceived benefits is defined as beliefs about
the positive outcomes associated with a behavior in response
to a real or perceived threat. The perceived benefit construct
is most often applied to health behaviors and is specific
to an individual's perception of the benefits that
will accrue by engaging in a specific health action.
For example, perceived benefits of mammography screening include
a woman's beliefs about the benefits of obtaining a mammogram,
e.g., "Having a mammogram will help me find breast lumps early"
1999). The perception
of benefits is theoretically linked to the woman's beliefs
about her own outcomes-not those that might occur for others.
Thus, a woman could feel that mammography would help find
breast cancer early for others but not necessarily believe
it would do so for herself.
The perceived benefit construct is included in many health
behavior models. For example, it is one of the four major
predictors of health-related behavior in the Health
Belief Model (Hochbaum
The health-related behavior is an action which is related
to decreasing the risk of a certain disease outcome. The Transtheoretical
DiClemente, Prochaska, & Brandenburg, 1985) includes a decisional
balance construct which incorporates both the benefits and
barriers to the specific health behavior. The construct of
response efficacy plays a prominent role in Protection
Motivation Theory (Maddux,
Ingram, & Desmond, 1995) and conceptually
overlaps benefits by identifying an individual's assessment
of positive outcomes accompanying a specific behavior. Finally,
two expectancy value theories that are often employed in studies
to predict health behavior, (the Theory of Reasoned
Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior)
also identify an attitudinal construct of expected consequences
of an action (including benefits) that predict intentions
to engage in specific behaviors (Ajzen,
& Ajzen, 1985).