Beyond strategic research: A value-centered approach to health communication interventions

Nurit Guttman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on health communication interventions tends to focus on achieving the intervention sponsor's goals. Thus, it can be characterized as strategic. Client and sponsor values, though recognized as important by researchers who adopt this approach, tend to be treated as independent variables that might serve as barriers to behavior change goals, or as dependent variables that can be manipulated to achieve those goals. This paper adopts the proposition that values have a pivotal role in the analysis and design of health communication interventions and that analyses that focus on values embedded in the intervention process can contribute to theory development. Instead of focusing exclusively on health-related objectives, the paper proposes that analyses can also examine the extent to which certain values might have contributed to both problem definition and intervention strategies. The rationale for focusing on values, distinctions between a strategic and a value-centered approach, and the importance of ethical issues in the analysis of health communication interventions are presented through a series of eight propositions. The propositions address six main areas: (a) the locus of analysis, (b) definition of the problem, (c) values, (d) intervention strategies and behavior change models, (e) program evaluation, and (f) ethical concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-124
Number of pages30
JournalCommunication Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1997


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