Online Program

Improving health through changing norms from a communication complex perspective

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

John Parrish-Sprowl, PhD, Indiana University, Communication Studies, Co-Director, Global Health Communication Center Professor, Communication Studies, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN; and, Faculty member, Russian & Eastern European Institute, Indianapolis, IN
A growing body of theory and research suggests that a reflexive, not linear causal relationship exists between communication and social norms. Furthermore, This relationship exists from the cultural down to the epigenetic level of action. Indeed, we find patterns of interconnection between human biology and communication that both promote consistent ways of being that we label social norms and impact the health of all of those participants in a given community. This carries strong implications for health communication in general and risk communication interventions in particular. This paper first details the theory and research that comprise the basis for an approach labeled Communication Complex (CC). Drawing on theory and research from communication, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience, CC is a synthesis of work that shifts our focus from the simple transmission of information to the more complex role that communication plays in the health of individuals and communities. Secondly, the paper discusses the implications for health and risk communication interventions, both in the US and internationally. CC health and risk strategies offer a perspective that can redefine community as well as individual interventions to reduce the number of preventable deaths and improve the health of the community overall. To illustrate the difference a recent case study will be presented that highlights the expanded possibilities for practitioners taking a CC approach.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship between human interaction and physical health. Discuss how the identification of patterns of interaction and social norms at the community level can be used to tailor risk communication interventions in public health settings.

Keyword(s): Risk Communication, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a principle in multiple research projects related to behavioral change. This work has taken place in multiple countries and contexts, making social norms a key issue in my research. In addition, I have played a primary role in developing the theoretical perspective that frames the behavioral change approach discussed in the paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.