Next Article in Journal
Social Vulnerability and Traumatic Dental Injury among Brazilian Schoolchildren: A Population-Based Study
Next Article in Special Issue
The Association between Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Parental Educational Level in Portuguese Children
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Educational Inequalities in Women’s Depressive Symptoms: The Mediating Role of Perceived Neighbourhood Characteristics
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(12), 4254-4277; doi:10.3390/ijerph9124254

Narratives and Images Used by Public Communication Campaigns Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities

Department of Communication, George Mason University, 253 Research Hall, 4400 University Drive MS 3D6, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
Department of Communication, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
The Hartman Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA 98005, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 August 2012 / Revised: 9 November 2012 / Accepted: 13 November 2012 / Published: 22 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Economical Determinants of Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [255 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]


Researchers have increasingly focused on how social determinants of health (SDH) influence health outcomes and disparities. They have also explored strategies for raising public awareness and mobilizing support for policies to address SDH, with particular attention to narrative and image-based information. These efforts will need to overcome low public awareness and concern about SDH; few organized campaigns; and limited descriptions of existing message content. To begin addressing these challenges, we analyzed characteristics of 58 narratives and 135 visual images disseminated by two national SDH awareness initiatives: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America and the PBS-produced documentary film Unnatural Causes. Certain types of SDH, including income/wealth and one’s home and workplace environment, were emphasized more heavily than others. Solutions for addressing SDH often involved combinations of self-driven motivation (such as changes in personal health behaviors) along with externally-driven factors such as government policy related to urban revitilization. Images, especially graphs and charts, drew connections among SDH, health outcomes, and other variables, such as the relationship between mother’s education and infant mortality as well as the link between heart disease and education levels within communities. We discuss implications of these findings for raising awareness of SDH and health disparities in the US through narrative and visual means.
Keywords: social determinants of health; health disparities; communication; narratives; visuals social determinants of health; health disparities; communication; narratives; visuals
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Clarke, C.E.; Niederdeppe, J.; Lundell, H.C. Narratives and Images Used by Public Communication Campaigns Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 4254-4277.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top