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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Penny Wolfe Moore, RNC, PhD (Southwestern Adventist University)
Description: This communication handbook is written for masters or higher level readers. Research studies are presented with further discussion of the implications.
Purpose: "There is so much good work being conducted [in the area of healthcare communications] that there is now a need for a comprehensive outlet that summarizes the research in the area." The book is a compilation of what the authors consider the most important research in healthcare communications. This enormous task is well done.
Audience: "This book is targeted towards the fields of health communication, public health, nursing, and social/behavioral aspects of medicine. It is primarily addressed toward graduate student and faculty markets. It should be of interest to researchers, healthcare providers, health communication consultants and practitioners, and policy makers." Each chapter is written by different author(s) with noted expertise in that area and then edited by the same four well qualified individuals.
Features: This book "covers many of the important areas of research in the field of health communication. . . Each chapter reviews the theory and research in the area,. . critiques that research . . provides suggestions for future research . . and discusses practical implications." There is an effort to address how the research relates to patient health or the health of society at large, how the research advanced the understanding of human communication, and how contemporary societal developments impact the issue.
Assessment: This is a well written book by experts in various fields of communication. A wide range of research methodologies is represented. For example, there is a chapter, Illness Narratives and the Social Construction of Health, that presents a storytelling qualitative approach. The chapter, Accessing, Understanding, and Applying Health Communication Messages: The Challenge of Health Literacy, presents a mix of qualitative and quantitative studies. I found the book fascinating. An entire course could be developed around any one of the chapters.