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Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

by Damilola Iyiola (Fall 2016) & Breanna Lanier (Spring 2015)

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


The Information-motivation-behavioral Skills (IMB) Model was developed in 1992 by Jeffrey D. Fisher and William A. Fisher as they sought to understand the mechanism behind HIV-risk behavior change (1). They found that behavioral change was a function of an individual's possession of three factors: information, motivation and behavioral skills (1). They consolidated these findings into a generalizable model that has served as a framework for interventions and as a reference for understanding various behavior changes both within and outside the health field (2). 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Figure 1: Strict Reproduction of Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) Model (3).


The three elements of the model interplay to influence a behavioral change.


Information: Individual has relevant information concerning the behavior and its implications (1).


Motivation: Individual's attitude toward the behavior and the consequences of that behavior. This attitude is influenced by both personal and social motivation (1).

  • Personal motivation: Attitude toward the behavior and self perception about own performance of behavior (2)
  • Social motivation: Society’s acceptance of the behavior and the individual's desire to adhere to social norms (2)

Behavioral Skills: The resources necessary for individual to carry out behavior. The individual must have both ability and self efficacy (1).

  • Objective ability: Individual's capability to practice behavior
  • Self Efficacy: Individual's self belief in their capability to practice behavior (1).

Both information and motivation activate the behavioral skills necessary for behavior change (2). 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


As demonstrated in Table 1, the IMB Model can be and has been applied to influence various types of behavior change (2). Additionally it has been used to inform a variety of interventions, especially in public health. This is evident in the first season of the MTV show, "Shuga" which incorporates the IMB model in its function as an intervention for HIV-risk behavior change. 


Table 1: Application of IMB Model to voting in the US.


IMB Model

Application: Voting in the US


  • The electoral process
  • Each person's vote counts toward a decision


(Personal and Social)

  • Individual seeks positive self perception that he/she has associated with voting: I am a good citizen, I am responsible
  • Many of individual's peers are voting
  • Society generally encourages voting and holds a negative view of those who do not vote

Behavioral Skills

(Ability and Self Efficacy)

  • Individual is a citizen, above age, is not incarcerated and is eligible to vote
  • Can access a voting center
  • Has mental and physical capability to vote
  • Believes in his/her ability to vote

Behavior Change

  • Individual has the relevant information and motivation which has activated their behavioral skills which directly allows change in behavior, voting.

MTV's Shuga


Plot: The show follows a group of twenty-somethings as they navigate sex, relationships and HIV in Nairobi, Kenya.


As an intervention: The show aims to influence behavior change in heterosexual youth with high HIV-risk health behavior. It provides the audience with relevant information on HIV/AIDS and safe sex practices with emphasis on reducing HIV transmission via HIV testing, condom use and male circumcision. The show uses the experiences of the characters to provide the elements of the IMB Model for its audience in order to influence behavior change. The analysis below will focus specifically on HIV testing as the desired behavioral change.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Table 2: The IMB Model applied to MTV’s Shuga, with the HIV testing as the desired behavior change.


IMB Model

MTV's Shuga


  • HIV testing is the only way to know HIV status
  • It is a simple blood test
  • Short wait time to get results
  • Medical counseling is available
  • Allows early treatment and prevents HIV transmission


       (Personal and social)

  • Positive self-perception after test: Characters view themselves as responsible, proactive, brave
  • Support from friends, family, health workers
  • Peer acceptance and participation

Behavioral Skills

 (Objective ability and self efficacy

  • Advertises local easily accessible testing centers
  • Affordable
  • Requires individual's consent to draw and test blood

Behavioral Change

  • Individuals test for HIV

The IMB model can similarly be applied in a global health setting. Practitioners implement culturally appropriate interventions to provide the three elements of the IMB Model in order to influence health behavior change in a population.



  • Tends to be too broad. The IMB model must be tailored to specific subgroups in order for it to strive to meet that subgroup's specific needs in information, motivation and behavioral skills (1).
  • Makes assumptions that individuals have similar baseline levels of information, motivation and behavioral skill. The corresponding intervention may then be insufficient or excessive (1).

Therefore when the model is applied, care must be taken to ensure that the IMB Model is well suited to the targeted population.


Useful Resources for Further Research

On IMB Model:



On MTV’s Shuga



Other applications of IMB model



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Works Cited


(1)Fisher, J.D., and Fisher,W.A (1992). Changing AIDS risk behavior. Centre for Health, Information and Prevention Documents. Paper 2. 


(2) Intervention Strategies Based on Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model for Health Behavior Change: A Systematic Review 


(3) Asian Nursing Research, Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 172-181 


(4) Sun Ju Chang, Suyoung Choi, Se-An Kim, Misoon Song


(5) Adherence to Long-Term Therapies - Evidence for Action: Annexes: Annex I - Behavioural mechanisms explaining adherence: 4. Models [Internet]. Apps.who.int. 2016 [cited 19 December 2016]. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js4883e/9.1.4.html#Js4883e.9.1.4


(6) Rogo P. In Africa, MTV Series 'Shuga' Promotes HIV Prevention Among Youth [Internet]. PBS NewsHour. 2016 [cited 19 December 2016]. Available from: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/in-africa-mtv-series-shuga-promotes-hiv-prevention-among-youth/


(7) MTV Shuga - Getting tested [Internet]. MTV Shuga. 2016 [cited 19 December 2016]. Available from: http://www.mtvshuga.com/knowledge/getting-tested/


(8) How MTV Shuga is tackling HIV - MTV Shuga [Internet]. MTV Shuga. 2016 [cited 19 December 2016]. Available from: http://www.mtvshuga.com/how-mtv-shuga-is-tackling-hiv/

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.