Applying the concept of positive deviance to public health data: a tool for reducing health disparities

Public Health Nurs. 2007 Nov-Dec;24(6):571-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2007.00670.x.


The concept of positive deviance (PD), which highlights uncommon practices that reduce risk in low-resource communities, has been effective in community mobilization and programming to improve health outcomes. We present a protocol for extending the concept to analysis of existing public health data. The protocol includes assessing whether PD fits the situation, identifying positive deviants, and identifying behaviors associated with positive deviants' healthy outcomes. Analyzing existing datasets from a PD perspective may aid public health nurses in efforts to reduce health disparities. The effectiveness of our protocol will be clarified in future research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Community Health Planning / methods
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration
  • Nursing Assessment / methods
  • Nursing Research / methods*
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Health Nursing / methods*
  • Research Design
  • Risk Assessment / methods