Key Papers on Theory of Triadic Influence | Brian R. Flay, John Petraitis and Frank Snyder

The Theory of Triadic Influence: A New Theory of Health Behavior With Implications for Preventive Interventions (1993)

Brian R. Flay and John Petraitis

December 1993

Advances in medical sociology 4:19-44

Some theories of health behavior focus on proximal cognitive predictors of behavior, some focus on expectancy-value formulations, some focus on social support and bonding processes, some focus on social learning processes, and some point toward personality and intrapersonal processes. Very few extant theories of health behavior incorporate several of these viewpoints, and those that do are limited in various ways. We propose a new comprehensive theory that integrates constructs from all previous theories. Triadic influence theory includes seven “tiers” of “causes” of behavior that range from very proximal to distal to ultimate, and three “streams of influence” that flow through the seven “tiers”: (I) cultural- environmental influences on knowledge and values, influencing attitudes, (2) social situation-context influences on social bonding and social learning, influencing social normative beliefs, and (3) intrapersonal influences on self determination / control and social skills, leading to self-efficacy. In addition to the direct influences of these streams, there are important inter-stream effects and influences that flow between tiers. The theory is intended to account for factors that have direct effecls as well as indirect effects on behavior. It is also intended to account for both new behaviors and regular behavior. Experiences with related behaviors and early experiences with a new behavior lead to feedback loops through all three steams adding to the prior influences of these streams. Our integration of existing theories leads to a meta-theoretical view that suggests higher order descriptions and explanations of health behavior, leads to a new and comprehensive view of health behavior change, and suggests new approaches for health promotion and disease prevention.

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The Theory of Triadic Influence (2009)

Flay, B. R., Snyder, F., & Petraitis, J.

In R. J. DiClemente, M. C. Kegler & R. A. Crosby (Eds.),
Emerging Theories in Health Promotion Practice and Research (Second ed., pp. 451-510).
New York: Jossey-Bass.

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Brief Introduction to the Theory of Triadic Influence (2012)

Frank J. Snyder, Purdue University and Brian R. Flay, Oregon State University
Unpublished document, August 2012

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A Theoretical Orientation (2014)

Snyder FJ.

  J Character Educ. 2014;10(2):107–127.

More and more researchers are studying socio-emotional and character development (SECD). The rise and progress in SECD research is encouraging, but there is a critical issue with such a multidisciplinary and fast-developing field: SECD research and evaluation can be more consistent to prevent heterogeneity in definitions and disparate theoretical, measurement, and program models. After summarizing SECD-related literature, I recommend the theory of triadic influence (TTI) as a force to generate consistency and a resource to assist in guiding the design and evaluation of SECD-related programs. The theory fills a gulf in the literature that seeks an ecological theory aligned with SECD-related programs and etiology. The recommendation of the TTI stems from 3 main advantages: (1) The TTI integrates a full range of risk and protective factors in a detailed mediation and moderation framework; (2) it takes a comprehensive view of all the stakeholders in the educational system (i.e., youth, schools, families, and communities); (3) and its utility has been substantiated by empirical evidence from a variety of fields. I discuss applications of the TTI in SECD-related work and suggest improvements for etiology research and the design and evaluation of SECD programs.

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Frank J. Snyder, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Public Health
Department of Health and Kinesiology
College of Health and Human Sciences
Purdue University

Prof. Frank Snyder presents at the Doctoral Midwifery Research Society Alcohol & Medication in Pregnancy Conference about ‘Modifiable risk in Pregnancy & Health behaviour change: Utilising the Theory of Triadic Influence (TTI)

Keystone Concepts from Slide Presentation to Catalyze Trophic Cascades to Connect More Dots

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