Environmental influences


I will analyze the development and influence of one of my bad habits. I will use the behavioral personality theory to explain why I have this habit as well as describe components of social/cognitive theory to explain why the habit formed. I will also develop a plan that applies operant conditioning to change this habit. Lastly, I will choose between the behavioral and social/cognitive theories to define which best explains my personality.

Learning about the how the behavioral personality theory works so that one is able to explain how a bad habit can affect one’s personality and what contributes to that habit. Along with learning how the habit was formed with the social-cognitive theory and using an operant conditioning to help change this habit is very important.


Analyze one of your habits

Bad Habit:

Smoking Cigarettes

According to Albert Banduras, theory encompasses the cultural context of personality, which includes role models and the assumptions and values of society (Cloninger, 2013). My parents were my “role model.” They both were smokers from as early as I can remember. Because they were such avid smokers, I began to enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke. As I got older, my friends would smoke cigarettes and I would enjoy the smell, until I was offered a drag from a friend’s Camel. At that point, I then became hooked. I just wanted to experience what it was like to actually smoke a cigarette. After that first time I did not try it again for a few years.


Habit Development

How did you develop this habit?

Enjoyed the smell of cigarette smoke

Peer pressure

Family and friends smoked

Statistics show that children of long time smokers are 10 times more likely to become smokers themselves. I began to enjoy being in the same environment or atmosphere as my parents and other smokers, just to be able to inhale the second hand smoke. The taste of my parents cigarettes when I would lite my parent’s cigarette would leave me wondering if actually smoking the cigarette was any better than just lighting it. However, the commercials on television against the tobacco companies and pictures of smokers’ lungs kept me only wondering and also kept me begging and pleading with my parents to quit smoking (Doyle, 2014).


Influences of the Habit

Were there role models for this habit?

Both of my parents


Who influenced you to adopt this habit?

Both of my parents


The influences of my habit was both of my parents. Watching them light up a cigarette and smelling the cigarette smoke got me intrigued with them, along with being able to light them up for the once and awhile. Both of my parents smoked ever since I was little and didn’t quit until I was in high school. When I asked them why they smoked they would always tell me that it helped them to relax. So when I was a teenager that was the first time that I tried smoking and I liked it.


Continuing the Habit

Why do you continue this habit?

It helps calm my nerves


Has there been a time when you attempted to break this habit?



After about four years of smoking and trying to quit I found myself being pregnant so I had to stop smoking for my baby’s health and my own health. I am still a smoker and continue to smoke. The second time that I quit smoking was when I found out that I was pregnant with my second child, and then I quit the third time when I was pregnant with my third child. I recognize that I tend to always light up after I have eaten something, if I am bored, and when I am driving a long distance.


Behavioral Personality Theory to Smoking Cigarettes

Commercials and advertisements made smoking look attractive

Smoking cigarettes is cool

Cool kids smoke cigs

Celebrities endorsed cigarettes were great to smoke

I have this habit because of my environmental factors from my parents. I am 37 years old now, and I have been smoking cigarettes since I was 15 years old off and on. When I was a child I seen commercials that showed celebrities smoking cigarettes and too me it made them look cool.

Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment (Cherry, 2017).


Social-Cognitive Theory

Explanations for continuing or maintaining the habit of smoking cigarettes


Influences and interactions of thoughts, environment, and behavior


Social-cognitive theory explains how the habit was formed. This theory analyzes the thoughts and what drives the smoker to the behaviors to smoke, and what the smoker has observed or learned from other and their environment (MDQuit, 2011). For instance, while in a bar or nightclub, I’ve seen other individuals with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Although, I may have had my last cigarette for the day or I just don’t have any cigarettes on me, it is very common in this environment for a cigarette and an alcoholic beverage to go hand-in-hand; and my craving for a cigarette would more than likely increase due to my observations of others smoking and the smell of the cigarette smoke in the air triggering thoughts of needing a cigarette.


Operant Conditioning Plan

Changing one’s behavior due to the consequences of the behavior

Using reinforcements, or rewards and punishment effectively

If I was to try to stop smoking, my operant conditioning plan would be to create a support system to encourage my cessation attempt with positive reinforcement or punish me for backsliding, ie: each week without a cigarette I could be rewarded with something I like; new items, monetary rewards, etc. and every week I fail to not have a cigarette I’d have to give up a set substantial amount of money for my bad behavior. I could use this operant conditioning in a support system setting or, if I have the willpower, alone; where I could reward or punish myself.


Explain Your Personality

I believe my personality is a mix of both social-cognitive and behavioral theories . Growing up, I would plead with my parents to stop smoking but also wondered why they smoked. Therefore, I began smoking when I was legal to partake in the habit. However, after enjoying a cigarette after spending money, or eating a meal, or while having a drink, even when dealing with a stressful situation and realizing or rationalizing that smoking calms my nerves and helps my food digest. I’d say that my personality leans more towards the social-cognitive theory.

My personality is a mix of both social-cognitive and behavioral theories. Both of my parents played a factor into my personality and my also to my bad habit. Between them and my environment it has played a role in my bad habit continuing for as long as it has.



Both behavioral and social-cognitive theories can play a role in what drives one to smoke

Peer pressure


Environmental influences


Habits can be broken.

Most times, one becomes a smoker through behavioral personality. The social-cognitive explains the thoughts and learned behavior behind why an individual is a smoker. And because smoking is a learned behavior, one can take various steps to change their smoking behavior.


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