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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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27. Willingness to Communicate about Health

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27. Willingness to Communicate about Health

KEVIN B. WRIGHT,George Mason University

Health communication scholars have long been interested in interpersonal communication issues in a variety of contexts, such as patient-provider interaction, communication within social support groups, and everyday conversations about health between individuals and their family members and friends (Street, Makoul, Arora, & Epstein, 2009; Wright & Rains, 2013).

For example, within the area of patient-provider communication, researchers have had a growing interest in the benefits of collaborative communication, which involves open discussion between patients and providers about health concerns as well as mutual problem solving and decision-making when discussing patient cases and treatment options (Dutta-Bergman, 2005). Collaborative communication has been linked to a variety of important outcomes for patients, including greater satisfaction with medical encounters, better adherence to treatments, and improved physical health outcomes (Naik, Kallen, Walder, & Street, 2008; Zolnierek & DiMatteo, 2009).

However, collaborative communication rests on the assumption that patients are willing to communicate with providers and others in their social network. This includes disclosing sensitive information about their lifestyle behaviors that may put them at risk for disease, such as smoking, overindulgence of alcohol and/or unhealthy food, and lack of exercise. Such topics may increase a patient’s communication apprehension when interacting with providers. Moreover, individuals must be willing to communicate with providers in an assertive manner in situations where they feel the need to be advocates for their rights or...

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