Ethics in Communication for Health Promotion in Clinical Settings and Campaigns: New Challenges and Enduring Dilemmas
Ethical Frameworks and Principles Philosophers have presented ethical theories and principles that defi ne moral duties and obligations, some with particular relevance to the health care and health promotion context (Veatch, 1999). The bioethics literature typically notes two major theoretical approaches broadly labeled as deontological and teleological. Deontological approaches-as implied by the Greek word deon, duty-hold that some actions are intrinsically right or wrong, regardless of the consequences they may lead to, and that individuals should not be treated as a means to an end. The teleological perspective-as indicated by the word telos, endfocuses on consequences as the main criteria for determining moral worth. A utilitarian perspective, which adopts a teleological approach, emphasizes the importance of effi ciency and eff ectiveness in terms of maximizing the greatest good to the greatest number of people within society’s limited resources. When health care providers or health communicators adopt particular goals and communication strategies, these refl ect the adoption of a particular moral approach, even if done unintentionally.