Code Book
Additional Health Behaviors Code Book

Additional Health Behaviors Code Book

Help-Seeking Behavior

A character addresses the need either verbally or behaviorally to get help with a mental illness or substance abuse problem. This includes: Verbal references, such as characters mentioning that they have been thinking about getting help for their condition or other characters suggesting that they should seek help. Characters who go through the effort of planning to get help (call doctor, respond to brochures) or making an actual appointment with a clinic. Also code if the character makes a statement about actually attending a session or meeting, “I just got back from my AA meeting,” but the scene is not shown. Characters shown visiting (walk-in) a clinic and possibly meeting a professional. Also code if a character is shown attending a counseling session (AA group). A character is forced to receive help involuntarily: through an “intervention” (friends and family sit down to have a formal discussion), treatment by emergency services (ODs and wakes up in the clinic), or a lawful decision forces them to be taken to the clinic (judge sentences them, a superior requests arrangements).


If a MAIN character is shown participating in some form of exercise, code appropriately. Exercise is defined as either a “sport activity, or non-sport fitness activity for the express purpose of enhancing fitness levels, reducing stress, treating a medical condition, or preventing a medical condition” (Bell, Berger, & Townsend 2003 Be sure to pay attention to finding a fitness motive for the activity. For example, prolonged stretching (yoga) before an activity is exercise. Taking the stairs would not constitute exercise unless the character expresses that they are doing so to lose weight / increase fitness. Do not consider recreational activities (dancing) or unintended situations (running away from danger) as exercise.

Most organized competitive situations would also constitute exercise. For example marching bands, cheerleading, dance marathons. If no MAIN character is participating in the event, do not code.


Any behavior in which characters place bets or make wagers would be considered gambling, regardless of whether they are the focal content of the segment. For example if characters are walking through a casino, code for background activity.

Types of gambling include cards (poker, blackjack), gaming machines (slots, video poker), track betting (horses, dogs), sports betting, dice (craps), random number games (roulette, bingo, keno), lottery. Also code if the gambling is a form of online (internet) gambling.

Automobile Safety

If a MAIN character is shown in an automobile (car, van, trunk, jeep, etc.), code if they are portrayed wearing a seatbelt or not (as well as other passengers). Do not code for taxis, limos, public transportation vehicles. Also do not code if the situation is an organized sporting event (NASCAR, crash derby). This applies only when the vehicle is moving or in traffic, but not if the car is parked / idle.

Bike/Motorcycle Safety

If any character is shown on a bike (bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, etc.), code if they are wearing a helmet and/or additional protection (knee-pads, elbow-pads, etc.) Do not code for public transportation vehicles or organized sports events (X Games). If multiple characters are shown in varying gear (some with protection, some without) then code the segment as portraying unsafe behavior (no protection).