A Theory-Based Socioecological Model of Communication and Behavior for the Containment of the Ebola Epidemic in Liberia

J Health Commun. 2017;22(sup1):5-9. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2016.1231725.


The Ebola virus disease that emerged in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in 2014 created an unprecedented public health emergency that caught national and international organizations off guard. Despite available guidelines to respond to public health emergencies, coordinated action to control the disease only came almost 6 months after what is now considered the first human contact with the virus. Theory-based frameworks, like the ideation model and the pathways framework, are important tools for guiding research and the design of communication activities and strategies to effectively impact on the more likely determinants of the intended behavior. By using theory, these frameworks increase the chances that localized research and communication interventions can effectively change desired behaviors and their behavioral determinants. In an outbreak situation such frameworks are all the more important, when time is of the essence and lives are on the line.

MeSH terms

  • Epidemics / prevention & control*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Communication / methods*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Liberia / epidemiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Social Theory*