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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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8. Opinion Leader Identification

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8. Opinion Leader Identification

DO KYUN KIMUniversity of Louisiana at Lafayette& JAMES W. DEARING,Michigan State University

Opinion leaders are individuals who influence people in their communication networks and hold the promise of accelerating positive word-of-mouth about and adoption of health interventions. Publications about opinion leadership primarily reside in the diffusion of innovation literature.

Some health innovations are targeted to social systems of health care providers. Others are targeted to social systems of individuals at risk of disease. Both types of social systems typically have people of high informal influence; i.e., opinion leaders. Weimann (1994) reviewed evidence showing that opinion leaders have particular personal, social, and socio-demographic attributes. Personal attributes include innovativeness, individuation combined with social conformity, knowledgeability, familiarity, and interest in the subject/domain, cosmopoliteness, and personal involvement or enduring involvement, while social attributes refer to gregariousness, social activity, centrality (connectedness) in social networks, social accessibility, social recognition, and credibility. Socio-demographic attributes of opinion leaders are not fixed, but vary according to topical domains, cultures, and societies.

Opinion leaders draw the attention of others because followers perceive them to be trustworthy and or expert about a topic. Opinion leaders are influential whether they try to be or not; indeed, much of their credibility likely derives from them not advocating for particular attitudinal and behavioral changes. Followers perceive them to be fair-minded and worthy judges of the pros and cons of innovations such as new health...

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