Health and Communication: Medicaland Public Health Influenceson the Research Agenda
The study of human communication processes and effects has combined with the study of almost every human endeavor, and health has been no different (Berger & Chaffee, 1987; Costello, 1977). The marriage of health and communication in a self-conscious interdisciplinary relationship is generally regarded to have occurred in the mid-1970s, although it was certainly a common-law relationship long before (Cassata, 1978; Costello, 1977). Like all scholarly intermarriages, the relationship between the two areas of study has been growing and changing albeit sometimes tenuously ever since the field became "official." Each has been involved in their separate "dominant paradigm" issues that have been affecting theoretical, research, and methodological aspects of their joint intellectual domicile. These issues include critiques of current level-of-analysis distinctions in communication effects and processes, as well as broadening conceptualizations of "health" as individual and collective behavior formed in community social and cultural settings.