Communication in the Health Care Context
The World Health Organizations’ first International Congress for health promotion produced the Ottawa charter (1986) and stated health promotion as being “the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health”. The promotional poster in this report has been developed for the physical activity health area, with a segmented target audience of women aged 40 to 60 years. The poster aims to communicate and reinforce the benefits of physical fitness. Whilst evaluating the poster approach to health communication, other forms of health communication, and their effectiveness, are also discussed.
The Wanless report (2004) ...view middle of the document...
Kreuter & McClure (2004) found that interaction patterns are also influenced by consumers’ unique backgrounds and should be accounted for in health promotion. The poster therefore communicates the Health Challenge Wales website for credibility as well as their phone number for women of lower socio-economic means with limited internet access.
Bandura (2004) states “To help people reduce health impairing habits by health communications requires a change in emphasis from trying to scare people into health to enabling them with the self-management skills and self-beliefs to enable them to take charge of their health habits.” The poster acknowledges this by communicating the positive message ‘Be healthier and happier’, as the target audience may be facing hormonal changes associated with menopause that can lead to depression. Thirlaway & Upton (2009) found that people with high self-efficacy are more likely to take up physical activity and maintain the change in behaviour. Whilst a poster can initiate a contemplation of change, ‘face-to-face’ communication can be more effective in promoting an active uptake of a change in health lifestyle. An example of a ‘face-to-face’ technique would be motivational interviewing. “Motivational interviewing is a collaborative, person-centered [sic] form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change” (Miller & Rollnick, 2009, p137). Using this technique in collaboration with other forms of health promotion, such as print media, could allow for a more effective outcome.
Poster campaigns can be a motivator for people already considering health behaviour change. For example, Kerr, Eves & Goodwin (2000) found in their robust study of the impact of a poster at the point of use ( i.e. bottom of stairs), that the people who were already thinking about increasing exercise were more likely to take the stairs. The size of the poster was also significant in promoting the desired behaviour change namely posters of size A1 and A2 had more impact than A3. Posters need to have a vivid eye-catching message, thus the slogan ‘Fit for Life’ was used. Parrot (1995) found that novel messages tend to involve the audience more. Whereas persuasive messages that influence positive emotions tend to increase attention (Monahan, 1995). However, Thirlaway & Upton (2009) found that health messages focus on ‘future-oriented’ long-term outcomes, whereas the majority of people are focused on the present. This is an inherent problem in many health campaigns.
Social and group support increases the likelihood of adhering to an active lifestyle, therefore the poster depicts women physically active with companions. Bidonde, Goodwin & Drinkwater (2009) found that older women form new social networks through group fitness and go on to become supportive of each other outside of the physical activity. Health campaigns that involve multi-faceted interventions, such as self-help groups, have been found to be more likely...