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Health Communication Research Measures

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim and James W. Dearing

This volume presents state-of-the-art reporting on how to measure many of the key variables in health communication. While the focus is on quantitative measures, the editors argue that these measures are centrally important to the study of health communication. The chapters emphasize constructs, scales, and up-to-date reports and evidence about key social science constructs and ways of measuring them, whether your interest is in patient-provider dyadic communication, uncertainty management, self-efficacy, disclosure, social norms, social support, risk perception, health care team performance, message design and effects, health and numerical literacy, communication satisfaction, social influence and persuasion, stigma, health campaigns, reactance, or other topics. Students, researchers, and policymakers will find this book an accessible resource for planning and reviewing research studies and proposals.
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15. Perceived Norms and Health Behavior

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15. Perceived Norms and Health Behavior

NICK CARCIOPPOLO,University of Miami

Social norms represent behavior that is accepted and expected in a given situation based on shared cultural or systematic values (Myers, 2012; Rokeach, 1973). The motivation to comply with perceived norms can influence an immensity of health related intentions, decisions, and behavior. In many respects, we are all behaviorally adrift on a sea of normative influence. Consider this example, which makes the preceding sentence appear more apt than exaggeration. In the summer of 2014, people began challenging friends, family, co-workers, and celebrities to do one of two things: donate one-hundred dollars for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research, or pour a bucket of ice water over their head while on camera, known as the “ice bucket challenge.” This campaign resulted in $115 million in donations over two months, compared to the $19 million ALS received during the entire previous year (ALS, 2014; Steel, 2014). While this challenge proved to be a successful fundraising strategy, a curious phenomenon arose: rather than choosing either to donate or dump a bucket of ice water over one’s head, many participants chose to do both. Although some dismissed this behavior as an attention-seeking form of vanity, it may be more appropriately described through the lens of normative influence. When friends, family, and celebrities are witnessed enacting a socially desirable behavior, such as raising money and awareness for charity, it can motivate others to enact the...

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