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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010152

Seeing Context through Metaphor: Using Communications Research to Bring a Social Determinants Perspective to Public Thinking about Child Abuse and Neglect

1
The FrameWorks Institute, 1333 H St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
2
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Weston House, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 October 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health Needs of Vulnerable Children: Challenges and Solutions)
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Abstract

Human beings think in metaphor and reason through analogy. The metaphors through which we think influence how we understand and feel about social issues as well as the actions that we see as appropriate and important. Metaphors can be used to increase understanding of how issues work and increase the salience of a given issue, build support for programs and policies necessary to address the issue, and instigate demand for change and civic action. In this paper, we use a mixed methods research design, including brief qualitative interviews, experimental surveys, and focus groups, to test the ability of different metaphors to influence public understanding of the social determinants of child abuse and neglect in the UK. We find one metaphor in particular that improves people’s understanding of the social causes of child maltreatment and increases support for structural solutions. This metaphor can be used to build support for preventative public health solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: communication science; culture and health; social determinants; child abuse and neglect; metaphor; science translation; public policy communication science; culture and health; social determinants; child abuse and neglect; metaphor; science translation; public policy
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Kendall-Taylor, N.; Stanley, K. Seeing Context through Metaphor: Using Communications Research to Bring a Social Determinants Perspective to Public Thinking about Child Abuse and Neglect. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 152.

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