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Expanding the Reach of Health Campaigns: Can Community Organizations Serve as Viable Channels of Health Information?
Unformatted Document Text:  Expanding the Reach 5 facilities. Size is another utilitarian role. Organizations with large memberships have the potential to reach more individuals than small organizations. Affinity Functions Whereas the instrumental function refers to material support, affinity function refers to social processes that occur between members in a social context. Affinity function consists of trust and credibility; common objectives; social support; and organizational norms. Trust and Credibility. At the heart of Putnam’s (2000) view of social capital is the importance of trust. He claims that “trustworthiness lubricates social life” (p. 21) because interaction with a diverse set of people produces a “norm of generalized reciprocity” (p. 21). Thus, enlisting the support of community organizations can enhance the credibility of the campaign, as members are more likely to trust information that has been sanctioned by the organization they choose to support. Putnam (2000) provides examples from a church in New York City that has provided its members diverse opportunities such as an AIDS awareness seminars, Narcotics Anonymous, Gulf Crisis study groups, and martial arts classes for teens and adults. If the ultimate goal of a health campaign is to change behavior, then organizations that already have the trust of their members might serve as key channels through which health campaign information can be disseminated. Common Objectives. Scott (1964) defined organizations as collectivities “established for the pursuit of relatively specific objectives on a more or less continuous basis (p. 488).” This definition implies that individuals who comprise a given organization seek similar objectives and thus the organization can provide a meaningful social context to its constituents. Members of a labor union, for example, are brought together because of their common interests, as are members of church groups or the PTA. Apart from providing a common social context for its

Authors: Stephens, Keri., Rimal, Rajiv. and Flora, June.
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Expanding the Reach 5
facilities. Size is another utilitarian role. Organizations with large memberships have the
potential to reach more individuals than small organizations.
Affinity Functions
Whereas the instrumental function refers to material support, affinity function refers to
social processes that occur between members in a social context. Affinity function consists of
trust and credibility; common objectives; social support; and organizational norms.
Trust and Credibility. At the heart of Putnam’s (2000) view of social capital is the
importance of trust. He claims that “trustworthiness lubricates social life” (p. 21) because
interaction with a diverse set of people produces a “norm of generalized reciprocity” (p. 21).
Thus, enlisting the support of community organizations can enhance the credibility of the
campaign, as members are more likely to trust information that has been sanctioned by the
organization they choose to support. Putnam (2000) provides examples from a church in New
York City that has provided its members diverse opportunities such as an AIDS awareness
seminars, Narcotics Anonymous, Gulf Crisis study groups, and martial arts classes for teens and
adults. If the ultimate goal of a health campaign is to change behavior, then organizations that
already have the trust of their members might serve as key channels through which health
campaign information can be disseminated.
Common Objectives. Scott (1964) defined organizations as collectivities “established for
the pursuit of relatively specific objectives on a more or less continuous basis (p. 488).” This
definition implies that individuals who comprise a given organization seek similar objectives and
thus the organization can provide a meaningful social context to its constituents. Members of a
labor union, for example, are brought together because of their common interests, as are
members of church groups or the PTA. Apart from providing a common social context for its


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