A practitioner's guide to persuasion: an overview of 15 selected persuasion theories, models and frameworks

Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Mar;74(3):309-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.12.003. Epub 2009 Jan 10.


Objective: To provide a brief overview of 15 selected persuasion theories and models, and to present examples of their use in health communication research.

Results: The theories are categorized as message effects models, attitude-behavior approaches, cognitive processing theories and models, consistency theories, inoculation theory, and functional approaches.

Conclusions: As it is often the intent of a practitioner to shape, reinforce, or change a patient's behavior, familiarity with theories of persuasion may lead to the development of novel communication approaches with existing patients.

Practice implications: This article serves as an introductory primer to theories of persuasion with applications to health communication research. Understanding key constructs and general formulations of persuasive theories may allow practitioners to employ useful theoretical frameworks when interacting with patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Fear
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Motivation
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychology, Educational
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Research / organization & administration*
  • Semantics