COMMUNICATION researchers have only recently recognized theimportant role they might play in discovering how people aremotivated to adopt healthful lifestyles. Communication, particularly via mass media, has been considered a weak vehicle for influencing people to adopt healthful behaviors (Solomon & Maccoby, 1984). Recent work indicates that communication is a key factor in both disease prevention and cure. Research on diffusion of health information, doctor-patient relationships, compliance with therapy, smoking cessation, alcohol, drug abuse, diet, stress, and cancer include communication as a major component in efforts to reduce disease onset rates and to increase recovery rates. It has become clear that illness is not only a personal experience, but a social experience as well. What doctors, nurses, family members, friends, acquaintances and media sources say, write, and do concerning a particular illness can influence patients' perceptions of cure, compliance with treatment, and efforts to survive.