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Health Communication

Strategies for Developing Global Health Programs

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim, Arvind Singhal and Gary L. Kreps

Promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of disease are inextricably linked to cultural understandings of health and well-being. Health communication scholarship and practice can substantially and strategically contribute to people living safer, healthier, and happier lives. This book represents a concrete step in that direction by establishing a strategic framework for guiding global and local health practices.
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, the volume includes state-of-the-art theories that can be applied to health communication interventions and practical guidelines about how to design, implement, and evaluate effective health communication interventions.
Few books have synthesized such a broad range of theories and strategies of health communication that are applicable globally, and also provided clear advice about how to apply such strategies. This volume combines academic research and field experience, guided by past and future research agendas and on-the-ground implementation opportunities.
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Chapter 9 Communication Network Analysis for the Diffusion of Health: Identifying Key Individuals (Do Kyun Kim, University of Louisiana at LafayetteJames W. Dearing, Michigan State University)

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Do Kyun Kim, University of Louisiana at Lafayette James W. Dearing, Michigan State University

Sharing influence in human communication is a normal and everyday phenomenon. People talk to and watch each other as means of learning appropriate behavior for different social contexts, and to feel a sense of belonging. People seek feedback by communicating, nonverbal and verbal, to help them assess new ideas, new practices, new norms, and new technologies, as a sort of social sounding board. Communication is the basis for how we decide what we will try and what we won’t, and how we conclude what is appropriate or beneficial and what is not. A male illegal immigrant in Botswana believes his friends when they say that “condoms have worms in them” (Kim, Chikombero, & Moroka, 2012); a young unmarried woman in the U.S. takes a risk of unwanted pregnancy because of her partner’s refusal to use a condom (Williamson, 2009). As illustrated in these examples, personal influence from specific others we know, and social influence in the sense of prevalent generalized norms, are key determinants of public health. While social (or impersonal) influence is often invoked in organized health promotion efforts that rely on advertising, personal influence can sometimes be harnessed to complement social influence if we have knowledge of who influences whom for which topics. This is the topic of this chapter.

Although many people already know the ABC (Abstain, Be faithful with one sex partner, and Condomise) principles of HIV prevention,...

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