The health belief model is a paradigm that proposes that a person will engage in a health behavior (in this case, pursuing cybertherapy to improve psychological, emotional, and cognitive health) based on a factors such as perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and perceived self-efficacy (Hochbaum, 1958; Rosenstock, 1974). The four factors were postulated to be related to peoples’ readiness to act or their willingness to engage in a behavior change. Perceived susceptibility refers to one’s opinions on chances of getting a condition. Perceived severity is related to one’s opinion of how serious a condition and its consequences are and perceived benefits are one’s belief in the efficacy of the advised action to reduce risk or seriousness of impact. Perceived barriers are one’s opinion of the tangible psychological costs of the advised action. Self efficacy is defined as one’s ability to take action and cues to action are strategies to activate “readiness” (Hochbaum, 1958; Rosenstock, 1974).This model has been applied to changing unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, overeating, substance use, and alcohol abuse. In the case of the current module, many individuals determine that psychological help is needed based on anxiety and depression related symptoms, and they agree that the symptoms are severe and that some professional help would be beneficial. As it relates to this module, some individuals may pursue cybertherapy for counseling purposes for a variety of reasons, but they may perceive many barriers (or costs) that prevent them from fully engaging in the process.
Some of the barriers are related to accessibility in the US because some individuals lack an internet connection or the means to connect to the world wide web (Barak & Grohol, 2011). Other issues may be cost related as some insurance companies limit the type of web-based cybertherapy service (e.g., videoconferencing only in some states) that can be reimbursed (Barak & Grohol, 2011). This module directly addresses barriers related to transmitting private information via text or email and engaging in e-commerce for the sake of offering payment for web based psychological interventions as this is a barrier that could prevent students from taking care of their psychological health.