Communication and Health: Systems and Applications

Communication and Health: Systems and Applications

Communication and Health: Systems and Applications

Communication and Health: Systems and Applications


This volume examines this rapidly growing and changing field by applying a unified framework that integrates both interpersonal and mass communication investigations into theoretical and applied issues.

Using a systems perspective as the organizational framework, relevant issues in the communication of health care, ranging from micro to macro levels, are discussed. The contributors recognize communication as a major factor affecting health today and therefore go beyond examinations of health communication as simply a dissemination of information regarding diseases, diagnoses, and treatments to show it as a much larger and more complex field with applications to all levels and forms of communication.

Communication and Health has as its three main objecties:

• providing a comprehensive, detailed, and up to-date picture of health communication

• applying an integrated, logical structure to the field

• making a clear, strong statement regarding the state of health communication and examining its future prospects

The contributors address such issues as provider-patient communication, health care teams, health care organizations, public health campaigns, and health education, and then discuss the factors that affect the processing of health information. Also included are examinations of changes in communication use within interpersonal, small group, and organizational health care contexts as well as the use of mass media and other sources for public health campaigns and for raising public awareness of health issues on a day-to-day basis.

Communication and Health fills a void in current literature on this field by serving as both a reference for professionals and researchers and as a textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate level students in a multitude of courses.


Lewis Donohew
University of Kentucky

Eileen Berlin Ray
Cleveland State University

In 1975, the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association was formed. Eleven years later, the Commission on Health Communication was formed by the Speech Communication Association. As health communication has become an area of specialty for communication scholars, more advanced courses are being offered at colleges and universities. Although a number of excellent introductory texts are available for use in lower division courses, there is a need for advanced and graduate-level texts in health communication.

The goal of this book is to meet that need. Specifically, it was designed to address theoretical and applied issues for understanding the health communication process across a number of contexts. It employs a systems framework to present relevant issues in the communication of health care ranging from micro to macro levels. This range includes an examination of factors affecting an individual's processing of information about health, and changes in uses of communication and its outcomes. These include interpersonal, small group, and organizational health-care contexts and factors involved in informing individuals about health through the mass media and other sources, both through public health campaigns and in the day-to-day climate of awareness and knowledge of health issues.

In the following pages, we define health communication, discuss relevant systems concepts, and offer a brief preview of their application in the forthcoming chapters.

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