Promotion of social change: a conceptual framework

Am J Community Psychol. 2002 Jun;30(3):401-27. doi: 10.1023/A:1015341220749.


This paper argues for the need to advance promotion efforts and proposes a conceptual framework for promotion of social change. A brief review is presented of traditional frameworks for the prevention of mental and social disorders and the promotion of wellness and social competencies, with attention to the ways in which promotion of social change extends and departs from these frameworks. In a framework for promoting social change, we advocate for promoting dynamic processes within systems, rather than outcomes within individuals. Systems are viewed as flexible and capable of facilitating multiple adaptive pathways for individuals and groups. Promoting social change also involves careful attention to critical analysis, values, language, and contextual processes. Examples are discussed throughout to illustrate how these principles have been used in the past and can be implemented in future efforts to promote social change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Planning*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Social Change*
  • Social Problems / prevention & control*