Health Communication Theory

Creating messages that promote health and change behavior

Judith Sobel, M.P.H., Ph.D., School of Community Health, Portland State University

Learning to protect our hearing requires a complex health behavior change. Research shows us that changing behavior is a challenging process, but it is an essential component of health delivery and promotion. The Dangerous Decibels program is primarily focused on changing health behaviors associated with hearing loss prevention in adolescents. Health communication theories guided the development of this program.

A number of health communication models focus on effective ways to communicate health promotion and disease prevention by changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors in adolescents.

The DD program has identified the following health communication theories to draw from because they provide concepts and rationale that fit well with our target population

  1. Stages of Change: Transtheoretical Theory
  2. The Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior
  3. Health Belief Model
  4. Social Cognitive Theory

Taken together these four theories offer great insight into the important components of a hearing loss prevention program for adolescents. The DD program has integrated all of the crucial elements of these health communication models in order to create the most effective intervention possible.