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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 7 has penetrated an organization can capitalize on the connectivity and legitimating function and ultimately exercise impact on members. Because of these instrumental and affinity functions fulfilled by community organizations, health campaigns that enlist the support of community organizations are likely to enhance their effectiveness. Ruling Out Alternative Explanations In order to test our central proposition that community organizations can act as viable channels for disseminating health information and that this information will translate into health outcomes, we need to be able to rule out alternative explanations. One such explanation is the possibility that organizational membership and health outcomes are predicted by a common, third variable (or a class of such variables), as shown in Figure 1. For example, Putnam (1995) has shown that education is a significant predictor of social capital (which has been operationalized as community membership). Well-educated people tend to join community organizations at greater rates than less-educated people (Putnam, 2000). Education, in turn, has often been associated with health outcomes (Donohue, Tichenor, & Olien, 1975; Rimal, Flora, & Schooler, 1999; Tichenor, Donohue, & Olien, 1970; Winkleby, Flora, & Kraemer, 1994; Winkleby, Fortmann, & Rockhill, 1992). Hence, in order to demonstrate a meaningful relation between membership in community organizations and health outcomes, we need to first partial out the effects of education on health outcomes.

Authors: Stephens, Keri., Rimal, Rajiv. and Flora, June.
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Expanding the Reach 7
has penetrated an organization can capitalize on the connectivity and legitimating function and
ultimately exercise impact on members. Because of these instrumental and affinity functions
fulfilled by community organizations, health campaigns that enlist the support of community
organizations are likely to enhance their effectiveness.
Ruling Out Alternative Explanations
In order to test our central proposition that community organizations can act as viable
channels for disseminating health information and that this information will translate into health
outcomes, we need to be able to rule out alternative explanations. One such explanation is the
possibility that organizational membership and health outcomes are predicted by a common,
third variable (or a class of such variables), as shown in Figure 1. For example, Putnam (1995)
has shown that education is a significant predictor of social capital (which has been
operationalized as community membership). Well-educated people tend to join community
organizations at greater rates than less-educated people (Putnam, 2000). Education, in turn, has
often been associated with health outcomes (Donohue, Tichenor, & Olien, 1975; Rimal, Flora, &
Schooler, 1999; Tichenor, Donohue, & Olien, 1970; Winkleby, Flora, & Kraemer, 1994;
Winkleby, Fortmann, & Rockhill, 1992). Hence, in order to demonstrate a meaningful relation
between membership in community organizations and health outcomes, we need to first partial
out the effects of education on health outcomes.


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