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Health Communication

K. Viswanath

Subject Medicine
Communication Studies » Health Communication

Key-Topics health

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Health communication is the study and application of the generation, creation, and dissemination of health-related information, health-related interactions among individual social actors and institutions, and their effects on different publics including individuals, community groups, and institutions. The challenges inherent in disease prevention and health promotion warrant a multidisciplinary and multilevel approach that examines the role of distal factors such as social and economic policies and health policies, near proximal factors such as neighborhoods and health-care organizations, and proximal factors such as individual lifestyles to explain individual and population health. Some have argued that communication is one thread that could connect the distal and proximal factors to explain individual and population health. Given this charge, health communication, though primarily a derivative field, draws from and contributes to such fields as mass communication, journalism, communication studies, epidemiology, public health, health behavior and health education, medicine, sociology and psychology, among others. The precise “origin” of health communication is difficult to pinpoint though its evolution could be traced to campaigns in public health to promote hygiene and immunization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, persuasion studies during and after World War II, and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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