Information-Motivation-Behavior Skills (IMB) Model: need for utilization in alcohol and drug education.
Article Type: Editorial
Subject: Medicine, Preventive (Educational aspects)
Preventive health services (Educational aspects)
Health behavior (Educational aspects)
Information behavior (Educational aspects)
Learning (Models)
Learning (Usage)
Author: Sharma, Manoj
Pub Date: 06/01/2012
Publication: Name: Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education Publisher: American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Psychology and mental health; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation ISSN: 0090-1482
Issue: Date: June, 2012 Source Volume: 56 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Canadian Subject Form: Health behaviour; Information behaviour
Product: Product Code: 8000140 Health Problems Prevention; 9105230 Health Problems Prevention Programs NAICS Code: 621999 All Other Miscellaneous Ambulatory Health Care Services; 92312 Administration of Public Health Programs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 298503330
Full Text: In the field of HIV prevention a popular model is the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) Model. Fisher and Fisher (1992) first introduced this model to be used in changing risk behavior for HIV/AIDS. Since then, this model has been consistently used in the literature and has served a useful purpose in the field of HIV/AIDS. It has also been applied to other fields such as breast self-examination and motorcycle safety (Fisher, Fisher, & Shuper, 2009).

There are three constructs of this model. The first construct is information. The prevention information is directly related to preventative behavior. In the case of alcohol and drug education, this would be all the preventative information regarding the use of alcohol and drugs, including the types of drugs, effects of drugs, and approaches to drug prevention. According to this model, the more information the person has, the greater the likelihood of his or her indulging in preventative behavior. The second construct of the IMB model is motivation.

Motivation is comprised of two types: (a) personal motivation to practice preventative behaviors, such as attitudes toward practicing specific preventative actions and (b) social motivation to engage in preventative behavior, such as having perceptions of social support. In the case of alcohol and drug education, personal motivation would be comprised of attitudes such as the benefits of not using alcohol and drugs, and the values associated with those benefits. Social motivation would comprise of perception, such as significant others not approving of using alcohol and drugs. This construct is influenced by the constructs from both social cognitive theory and the reasoned action theory of planned behavior.

The third construct of the IMB model is behavioral skills. This is comprised of an individual's objective ability and self-efficacy in performing the behavior. Self-efficacy is the confidence that a person has in his or her ability to perform a given behavior at the present moment. This construct is influenced by social cognitive theory. In the case of alcohol and drug education, these behavioral skills would comprise of skills such as refusal skills.

The advantage of this model is that it is a parsimonious model. There are only three constructs and it is pretty straightforward to operationalize these constructs. Another advantage is that the model has been thoroughly tested with HIV prevention behaviors, and has shown adequate predictability.

There are some limitations of this model that have been mentioned in the literature. One limitation is that the information construct of this model is a weak and inconsistent predictor of behavior. It can be said that information, while necessary, is not sufficient for behavioral change. The second limitation is that information and motivation are often not mutually exclusive. Such interdependence poses problems in the testability of this model. Finally, the model lacks environmental and cultural factors, which are important in predicting and explaining behaviors, and enhancing the predictability of any model.

In the field of alcohol and drug education, the IMB model has been used to some extent. The IMB model has been used to reduce the rate with which men engage in sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Calsyn et al, 2010). Another qualitative study by Howard and colleagues (2007) used the IMB model to examine how students minimize harm to themselves and others when drinking. The IMB model has also been used to examine substance use and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with other men while attending Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans (Benotsch et al, 2007). Using the IMB model, Malow and colleagues (2006) examined the severity of alcohol use and HIV sexual risk among juvenile offenders. Maisto and colleagues (2004) applied the IMB model to study the effects of alcohol and expectancies on determinants of safer sex. So we see that the IMB model has been applied to alcohol and drugs, but mainly as it relates to sexual behavior. There is need to apply this model to other dimensions of alcohol and drug use.

On the whole, the IMB model is a comprehensive conceptual framework that can be applied to a variety of health behaviors including alcohol and drug related behaviors.


Benotsch, E. G., Nettles, C. D., Wong, F., Redmann, J., Boschini, J., Pinkerton, S.D., Mikytuck, J. J. (2007). Sexual risk behavior in men attending Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana. Journal of Community Health, 32(5), 343-356.

Calsyn, D. A., Crits-Christoph, P., Hatch-Maillette, M. A., Doyle, S. R., Song, Y. S., Coyer, S., & Pelta, S. (2010). Reducing sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol for patients in substance abuse treatment. Addiction, 105(1), 100-108.

Fisher, J. D., & Fisher, W. A. (1992). Changing AIDS risk behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 455-474.

Fisher, J. D., Fisher, W. A., & Shuper, P. A. (2009). The information motivation-behavioral skills model of HIV preventive behavior. In R. J. Diclemente, R.A. Crosby, & M.C. Kegler (Eds.), Emerging theories in health promotion practice and research (2nd ed., pp. 21-64). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Howard, D. E., Griffin, M., Boekeloo, B., Lake, K., & Bellows, D. (2007). Staying safe while consuming alcohol: A qualitative study of the protective strategies and informational needs of college freshmen. Journal of American College Health, 56(3), 247-254.

Maisto, S. A., Carey, M. P., Carey, K. B., Gordon, C. M., & Schum, J. L. (2004). Effects of alcohol and expectancies on HIV-related risk perception and behavioral skills in heterosexual women. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 12(4), 288-297.

Malow, R. M., Devieux, J. G., Rosenberg, R., Samuels, D. M., & Jean-Gilles, M. M. (2006). Alcohol use severity and HIV sexual risk among juvenile offenders. Substance Use and Misuse, 41(13), 1769-1788.

Manoj Sharma, MBBS, MCHES, Ph.D.

Editor, Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

University of Cincinnati

527 C Teachers College

PO Box 210068

Cincinnati, OH 45221-0068
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