The social context of interpersonal communication and health

J Health Commun. 2009;14 Suppl 1:5-17. doi: 10.1080/10810730902806836.


Recent years have seen an increased interest in the social context of interpersonal communication. This focus informs major public health topics including health disparities, social networks, social capital, and the penetration of new communication technologies. We use data from the 2003 and 2005 Health Information National Trends Surveys (HINTS) to illustrate the role of social context in interpersonal communication. Finally, we argue that addressing the social context may be an important tool for eliminating communication inequalities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Social Support*