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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 6 members, community organizations can also provide stability. Scott’s (1964) definition implies that, because organizations exist “more or less on a continuous basis,” they can serve as reliable channels for information dissemination. Social Support. Inherent in the affinity function is the notion of social support. Not only does Putnam (2000) claim that it is a central value to the notion of social capital, but it serves an important function in many community organizations. Whereas early research on social support conceptualized it as the perception of being accepted and valued by others (Moss, 1973; Cobb, 1976), recent studies have framed it as a more interactive process. In health campaigns, this interactive perspective is particularly relevant because it is viewed as a process that seeks to reduce feelings of uncertainty about “the situation, the self, the other, or the relationship” (Albrecht & Adelman, 1987, p. 173; Pierce, Sarason, & Sarason, 1990). For example, as messages are exchanged about healthy behaviors, social support can serve to reduce uncertainty and enhance feelings of control by helping others develop plans, identify potential consequences, take risks, and anticipate that their actions will result in the desired outcome (Albrecht, Burleson, & Goldsmith, 1994). This affinity function might be especially helpful when diffusing a preventative message because those messages have “a particularly slow rate of adoption because individuals have difficulties in perceiving its relative advantage” (Rogers, 1995, p. 217). Organizations provide a venue where the utility of certain innovations can be gauged through social networks. Organizational Norms. Norms are codes of conduct that control group behaviors and attempt to create social order (Trice & Beyer, 1993). These group-constructed rules (Tajfel& Turner, 1986) are powerful, as they can serve connectivity and legitimating functions over time (Trice & Beyer, 1993). Given that norms are central in organizations, health information that

Authors: Stephens, Keri., Rimal, Rajiv. and Flora, June.
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Expanding the Reach 6
members, community organizations can also provide stability. Scott’s (1964) definition implies
that, because organizations exist “more or less on a continuous basis,” they can serve as reliable
channels for information dissemination.
Social Support. Inherent in the affinity function is the notion of social support. Not only
does Putnam (2000) claim that it is a central value to the notion of social capital, but it serves an
important function in many community organizations. Whereas early research on social support
conceptualized it as the perception of being accepted and valued by others (Moss, 1973; Cobb,
1976), recent studies have framed it as a more interactive process. In health campaigns, this
interactive perspective is particularly relevant because it is viewed as a process that seeks to
reduce feelings of uncertainty about “the situation, the self, the other, or the relationship”
(Albrecht & Adelman, 1987, p. 173; Pierce, Sarason, & Sarason, 1990). For example, as
messages are exchanged about healthy behaviors, social support can serve to reduce uncertainty
and enhance feelings of control by helping others develop plans, identify potential consequences,
take risks, and anticipate that their actions will result in the desired outcome (Albrecht, Burleson,
& Goldsmith, 1994). This affinity function might be especially helpful when diffusing a
preventative message because those messages have “a particularly slow rate of adoption because
individuals have difficulties in perceiving its relative advantage” (Rogers, 1995, p. 217).
Organizations provide a venue where the utility of certain innovations can be gauged through
social networks.
Organizational Norms. Norms are codes of conduct that control group behaviors and
attempt to create social order (Trice & Beyer, 1993). These group-constructed rules (Tajfel&
Turner, 1986) are powerful, as they can serve connectivity and legitimating functions over time
(Trice & Beyer, 1993). Given that norms are central in organizations, health information that


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