Health Communication Theories

Compare and contrast two different theories described in your textbook reading for this
topic. Highlight the key elements, strengths, and limitations of each theory, and provide an
example of how each theory has been applied in practice.

Health Communication Theories

Health communication theories are used in practice to prove the guidelines and
framework of implementation an also provide the hindsight of the outcome through change.
Additionally, it allows for the clarification and informed decision making on how to approach a
givenhealth situation. Furthermore, they are instrumental in the planning and designing of
intervention measures and aid in the messaging for maximum efficacy (Schiavo, 2014). The
evaluation framework for the measures executed is also included in the models. Moreover, the
approach to communication, roles, and duties of the teams are outlined, thus helping the
implementation phase of health communication. The theories have been broadly categories into
marketing and social marketing, behavioral and social sciences, mass communication, medical
anthropology,andsociology.

Comparison ofthe Theories

Two theories, namely, social cognitive/learning theory and Social marketing models,were
comparedin their role in health communication. The social cognitive theory explores the
interaction of behavior, personal, and environmental factors and how they influence the attitudes
and trends of individuals (Bednarcyzk, Chamberlain, Mathewson, Salmon, & Omer, 2018). It
encompasses observational learning characterized by the ability to create awareness on a given

HEALTH COMMUNICATION THEORIES 2
area or topic, the ability to remember the actions, reproduction of the events, creation of a
motivation to perform a given task, actual performance, and the ability to repeat and sustain the
action over durations. Hence there is the element of attention, retention, reproduction,
motivation, performance,andself-efficacy,respectively. An example is the Chattanooga Cares an
HIV program that used skill-building to change thebehavior of the target population. On the
other hand, social marketing models is similarto the message,orbehavior change is packaged as a
product. The price of the product is then quantified as the cost of adoption of the behavior, and
the place includes the presentation and distribution channels for the message and promotion as
the conveyance of the said health communication to the target audience (Firestone, Rowe, Modi,
& Sievers, 2017). An example is a provision of condoms in support of safe sex as an HIV
prevention measure.

The contrast of the Theories

The contrast between the social cognitive theory and the social marketing theory is that
they influence the behaviors in different ways. Whereas social cognitive/ learning theory is
intended to change the behavior through observational learning and therefore ensures the
messagingis packaged in a manner that creates attention and requires performance to sustain its
impetus by affecting the individual’s surroundings and environment (Bednarcyzk, Chamberlain,
Mathewson, Salmon, & Omer, 2018). Social marketing model tends to present the benefits of
changing the behavior through an advertisement approach and also include tangible products
moreover it also quantifies the emotional, physical, or social cost of the behavior change hence
making the messaging more appealing. Additionally, it creates a sense of desire or motivation for
the behavior change; hence its impetus in the community (Firestone, Rowe, Modi, & Sievers,

HEALTH COMMUNICATION THEORIES 3
2017). Consequently, the individuals do not get to develop the behavior through skills-buildingas
is the case with social cognitive theory.

HEALTH COMMUNICATION THEORIES 4

References

Bednarcyzk, R. A., Chamberlain, A., Mathewson, K., Salmon, D. A., & Omer, S. B. (2018).
Practice-, provider-, and patient-level interventions to improve preventive care:
Development of the P3 Model. Preventive Medicine Reports, 11(2018), 131-138.
Firestone, R., Rowe, C. J., Modi, S. N., & Sievers, D. (2017). The effectiveness of social
marketing in global health: A systematic review. Health Policy and Planning, 32(1), 110-


  1. Schiavo, R. (2014). Health communication: From theory to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco,
    CA: Jossey-Bass.
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