Handbook of Health Communication

By Teresa L. Thompson; Alicia M. Dorsey et al. | Go to book overview

Preface
The field of health communication has developed tremendously within the last 25 years. Prior to that time, there was only a scattering of research published in widely dispersed publication outlets. There are now two journals devoted exclusively to the topic, but hundreds of other medical and social science journals publish related research on a regular basis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (LEA) began publishing the journal Health Communication in 1989. Although some of the early submissions left much to be desired and the first few issues were filled just in time for publication, that situation had changed drastically within a year or two. We now find a plethora of high quality submissions and have such a backlog of acceptances (even with only a 15% acceptance rate) that LEA decided to, for the third time, increase the size of the journal in 2001. A few years ago, a competing outlet, Journal of Health Communication, began publication. The competition has in no way, however, diminished submissions to either journal. The reason for this is because there is much good work being conducted in the field.Indeed, there is so much good work being conducted that there is now a need for a comprehensive outlet that summarizes the research in the area. That is the task of the current volume, Handbook of Health Communication. This volume covers many of the important areas of research in the field of health communication. Each chapter, written by a noted scholar or scholars in the relevant area, 1) reviews the theory and research in the area, both within the United States and internationally, 2) critiques that research and the methods that were used, 3) provides suggestions for future research on the topic (a research agenda for the 21st century); and 4) discusses practical implications of the line of research. The authors are from the fields of communication, medicine, and public health as well as government agencies and private health consulting arenas.In addition to covering specific content in each substantive area, the authors were asked to address their topics with the following issues in mind, although not every issue is relevant to every chapter:
a. How does this area of research relate to patients' health and well being or the health and well being of society at large?

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