Health Psychology – Chapter 11: Information and Communication
Health communication refers to all interpersonal, organizational or mass
communication that concerns health. Intended to improve the health status of
individuals or populations. This can:
o Occur in various contexts
o Be applied in a variety of settings
o Use a variety of channels
o Deliver a variety of messages
o Be used for a variety of reasons
Important for both providers and consumers of health information; for the
providers it is vital in ensuring that the intended message reaches and influences
its target audience; for the consumers, effective health communication can enable
them to access information that can help them.
Communication is the exchange of information from one entity to another.
SHANNON AND WEAVER’S MODEL:
o Source ▯where the message is coming from
o Transmitter ▯something that ‘encodes’ the message into signals
o Channel ▯where encoded signals are transmitted
o Receiver ▯something that ‘decodes’ the signal back into the message
o Destination ▯where the message goes
There is also different types of NOISE, any inference between the sender and the
destination (cognitive, physical, psychological or sociocultural)
Shannon and Weaver’s model provides insight into the factors that need to be
considered for effective communication
HealthCare ProfessionalPatient Communication (HCP) is essential to health
promotion, disease prevention and treatment. Can enable information about their
physical/mental state that can allow early identification, diagnosis and treatment
of their condition.
May not always be effective. There could be gaps between what the HCP conveys
and what the patient understands. There could also be gaps between messages
patients would like to express and what the practitioner receives.
The “Deviant Patient” Perspective ▯early studies focused on patient
characteristics in their attempt to account for failures in doctorpatient
communication. It was found that there was a link between patient satisfaction
and compliance or adherence.
The “Authoritarian Doctor” Perspective ▯looked at the ways in which doctors use
their authority in order to control the doctorpatient interaction. A PATIENT
CENTRED style makes use of the patient’s knowledge and experience through
techniques such as silence, listening and relection. DOCTORCENTRED style
makes use of the doctor’s knowledge and skill, ex/ asking questions. Observed
that doctors adopted a habitual style that they tended to use with most patients
Major criticism of doctors’ traditional communication style was that it was
characterized by working to rigid agendas, little listening to patients’ accounts and
little open discussion of treatment options.
Patientcentred styles increase patient adherence as well as satisfaction. The “Interactive Dyad” Perspective ▯began looking at the communicative event
to which both doctor and patient contribute. Both HCP and patient are seen to be
shaping the conversation as they make use of culturally available discursive
resources. A focus on the communicative event as a joint achievement can shed
light on the reasons for communication failure.
The importance of nonverbal commincation in the form of eye contact, facia
expression, gestures and other forms of commincation has been highlighted.
SOCIAL MARKETING ▯is the application of consumeroriented marketing
techniques in the design, implemtation a