Health Communication Inquiry and Health Promotion: A State of the Art Review

Gary L. Kreps

University Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for Health and Risk Communication, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MS 3D6, Fairfax, VA 22030


Health communication is a young, relevant, and promising applied field of study that examines the influences of human and mediated communication on the delivery of health care and the promotion of health.  Health communication inquiry is typically problem-based, identifying serious communication issues that threaten the quality of health care and health promotion, as well as suggesting evidence-based health communication interventions, programs, policies, and practices for improving health outcomes.  Intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, and societal levels of communication perform central roles in promoting health across the continuum of care:  prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end of life care.  Health communication scholars have developed a rich body of research and theory that identifies critical communication factors that influence health care and health promotion, suggesting key communication strategies for improving health outcomes.  This article reviews the development of the field of health communication, examines relevant health communication research and theory, identifies important topics for health communication research, describes implications of the best health communication research findings, evaluates the applications of health communication research, and suggests fruitful directions for expanding future health communication scholarship to enhance the delivery of care and the promotion of public health. Journal of Nature and Science, 1(2):e35, 2015.

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