Influences on Public Health Communication
Social Ecological Model
The Social Ecological Model is a theory-based research looking at the many different personal, cultural and environmental factors which help in determining our behaviors. The SEM help to further understand the differences and similarities within personal and environmental factors. This model studies relationships between a person, or people, and their environment. The SEM considers the whole ecological system where growth begins in order to fully understand human growth and development. The SEM uses subsystems which are used to support and guide human development. The five subsystems are intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community, and public policy.
Social Ecological Model and Public Health Communication
The intrapersonal level of the SEM consists of individual characteristics that influence behavior; knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, (Winch, 2012). Everyone is raised in an environment that molds them through knowledge, attitude and behavior into the individual they are with the behaviors they possess.
The interpersonal level consists of the groups of people in a person’s life which help in providing identity and support, (Winch, 2012). These groups of people could be family, friends, co-workers, and peers to name a few. It also looks at the lack of family, friends and peers to see how that may have help result in a person’s behaviors. If you grew up in a very racist home with negative views on a certain race or religion, thus giving you the same racist views, this is because of the interpersonal level of the social ecological model.
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The organizational level consists of church’s, stores, community organizations having rules, regulation, policies, structures constraining or promoting behaviors, (Winch, 2012). There are many religions organizations and even communities which place rules and regulations on people. These rules and regulations make you act and live a certain way in order to follow these rules. Which them in itself can and will change many people’s behaviors when in these areas to behaviors different then their normal behavior. They can also change your behavior out of fear. You are afraid of having premarital sex because it is against your religion, and the fear of being shunned from your congregation, or going to hell for sinning may stop you from engaging in premarital sex.
The community level consists of local community where you live, social networks you may be a member of, and how you fit in to these communities including, what is expected of you in order to fit into the norms of these communities, (Winch, 2012). Relationships among organizations, institutions, and informational networks within defined boundaries, including the built parks and recreation, village associations, community leaders, businesses, and transportation, (Winch, 2012).
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Public policy level consists of local, state, federal rules and laws in place which regulate or support healthy practices/actions, (Winch, 2012). This is the laws and actions from Local, state, national and global policies, which reflect positions, attitudes, cultural ideas and accepted rules including policies and access to healthcare services, restrictive policies, (Winch, 2012). All of public health and Public Healthcare need to follow local, state and federal rules and regulations. This can sometimes get in the way of providing all healthcare that is needed and may make providers need to take extra steps in order to help people properly. While these laws and rules can sometimes make it more difficult, they are put in place for the overall health and safety for anyone and everyone in that community.
There are so many different barriers and influences on public health communication. Because of this is it so important to understand these influences in order to provide health education accurately to everyone and anyone in need. Public health communication is the use of communication strategies to present informed, and educated decisions and actions which can be used in order to improve health, and healthcare (CDC, 2019). Public health communication is having a science-based strategic communication process to help deal with and find solutions to public health challenges, (CDC, 2019). The process includes using social and ecological models, to identify steps to influence attitudes and behavior, (CDC, 2019). Health communication is seen to have relevance for virtually every aspect of health and well-being, including disease prevention, health promotion and quality of life. Health communication is so important because it combines theory and practice in understanding communication processes and changing human behavior.
- CDC. (2019). Health Communication Basics. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site: https://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/healthbasics/WhatIsHC.html
- Winch, P. (2012). Ecological Models and Multilevel Interventions. Retrieved from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Web Site: http://ocw.jhsph.edu/courses/HealthBehaviorChange/PDFs/C14_2011.pdf
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