Identifying opinion leaders to promote behavior change

Health Educ Behav. 2007 Dec;34(6):881-96. doi: 10.1177/1090198106297855. Epub 2007 Jun 29.


This article reviews 10 techniques used to identify opinion leaders to promote behavior change. Opinion leaders can act as gatekeepers for interventions, help change social norms, and accelerate behavior change. Few studies document the manner in which opinion leaders are identified, recruited, and trained to promote health. The authors categorize close to 200 studies that have studied or used opinion leaders to promote behavior change into 10 different methods. They present the advantages and disadvantages of the 10 opinion leader identification methods and provide sample instruments for each. Factors that might influence programs to select one or another method are then discussed, and the article closes with a discussion of combining and comparing methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Peer Group
  • Psychology, Social*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Support