Barrier analysis

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Barrier Analysis is a rapid assessment tool used in behavior change (public health) projects. The purpose of Barrier Analysis is to identify behavioral determinants, so that more effective behavior change communication messages, strategies and supporting activities can be developed. Barrier Analysis is a relatively easy approach that can be conducted in a short period of time, allowing implementers to make decisions based on the findings in a timely manner.


Barrier Analysis was developed in 1990 by Tom Davis of Feed The Children (formerly with Food for the Hungry) based on the health belief model and the theory of reasoned action.[1] Since then, it has been adopted by organizations around the world to study determinants of behaviors related to child survival, food security, sexual and reproductive health, city planning, and other areas. The methodology has continued to evolve as it has been tested in more settings. It has primarily been used for international development, although it has also been used in the developed world as well (e.g. by the Baltimore City Government for analysis of trash can use).[2]


Barrier Analysis can be used at the start of a behavior change program to determine key messages and activities for intervention. It can also be used in an ongoing program focusing on behaviors that have not changed, despite repeated efforts, in order to understand what is keeping people from making a particular change.


The purpose of Barrier Analysis is to identify determinants (barriers) of behavior change among a specific target audience. The four most commonly found determinants are self-efficacy, social norms, positive consequences and negative consequences.[3] Typically researchers interview 45 “Doers” (people who already practice the behavior) and 45 “Non-doers” (people who do not practice the behavior) and compare what “Doers” say with how “Non-doers” respond. Differences of 15% are considered significant. Determinants identified this way have a less than 5% probability of being due to chance.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Davis, Tom. "FH Tools for PM2A Projects: Barrier Analysis". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Rockoff, Jonathan D. (12 July 2005). "City launches initiative to boost trash-can use". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Barrier Analysis". Food for the Hungry. November 2004. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 

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