Theory and practice in health communication campaigns: a critical interrogation

Health Commun. 2005;18(2):103-22. doi: 10.1207/s15327027hc1802_1.


In recent reviews of the body of work on health campaigns, communication scholars discussed the importance of reflective thinking about the capacity of campaigns to effect change; this reflective thinking is especially important in the realm of the increasing gaps in society between the health rich and the health poor and the increasing marginalization of the poorer sections of society. This article critically reviews 3 central theories of health communication campaigns that represent the dominant cognitive approach: theory of reasoned action, health belief model, and the extended parallel process model. After articulating the limitations of these theoretical approaches, the article summarizes new directions in theory, methodology, and application of health communication campaigns targeting marginalized populations.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Social Class