Handbook of Health Communication

Handbook of Health Communication

Handbook of Health Communication

Handbook of Health Communication

Synopsis

The Handbook of Health Communication brings together the current body of scholarly work in health communication. With its expansive scope, it offers an introduction for those new to this area, summarizes work for those already learned in the area, and suggests avenues for future research on the relationships between communicative processes and health/health care delivery. The Handbook begins with a macro perspective on the contribution of theory to health communication. It then illuminates the scope of health communication around the contextual frameworks traditionally used in the discipline of communication. The contents are organized into six parts, which break out as follows: Part I: Introduction addresses some introductory theoretical and meta-theoretical issues related to health communication. Part II: Provider-Patient Interaction Issues discusses such issues as communication skills training, outcomes of provider-patient interaction, disclosure issues, methods for studying provider-patient interaction, and special populations. Part III: Social and Community Health Issues emphasizes such issues as community organizing and health risk management, social support, everyday interpersonal communication and health, and marginalized populations. Part IV: Organizational Issues includes chapters on organizational forms, stress and social support, groups and teams in health care, organizational rhetoric, and working well. Part V: Media Issues offers chapters on health campaigns and communication design strategies, narrowcast health messages, telemedicine, health public relations and information in the media, and health literacy. Part VI: Lessons and Challenges From the Field focuses on lessons learned in the field, including important contributions by those who have worked to combine academic with policy/practitioner perspectives within the field of health communication, and concludes with a focus on ethics in health communication research. With contributions from top scholars in health communication, public health, and related areas, this Handbook establishes a benchmark in current scholarship and research. The chapters included here provide definitive examinations of the various aspects of health communication, and encourage readers to delve further into these areas on their own through an examination of the representative citations. The Handbook of Health Communication is intended for students, researchers, and practitioners with interests in the various aspects of health communication, and it will serve as an essential resource and reference for all concerned with health communication issues.

Excerpt

What can one say about an area of study that simultaneously allows one to look at the creation of shared meaning and at the impact of messages on health and health care delivery? Although those of us who study communicative processes would argue that all communication is inherently interesting, researchers who examine the impact of communication on health and health care delivery are privileged to focus upon processes of fundamental human import. After all, health issues are of concern to most of us throughout our lives.

It may then be surprising that it took communication researchers some time to turn their attention to health issues. The Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association was founded in just 1975, and a division of the same name was made part of the National Communication Association (the largest association of people who study communicative processes) in 1985. This does not mean, of course, that health communication processes were not being examined prior to 1975. The study of health communication had already begun but was sporadic and scattered, with the exception of the early work of Barbara Korsch and colleagues (Korsch, Freeman, & Negrete, 1971; Korsch, Gozzi, & Francis, 1968; Korsch & Negrete, 1972). In addition, whereas some of the first studies were conducted by researchers whose primary interest was communication, more were done by those with interests in medicine, nursing, or, occasionally, social science areas other than communication. For instance, in Costello's (1977) review of the area of health communication, only five of the published articles he cited had appeared in communication outlets, and three of those focused on therapeutic communication rather than health communication per se. Costello concluded that little of the existing research had been conducted by those within the field of communication, and Cassata (1977) echoed this theme. By the time Thompson wrote her 1984 review of communication in the health and social service professions, 105 out of the 325 works . . .

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