2nd Edition

Health Communication Research and Practice for a Diverse and Changing World

    366 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    366 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This thoroughly revised second edition covers the major areas of research, theory, and practical application in health communication.

    This textbook takes an in-depth approach to health communication by analyzing and critically evaluating research conducted across multiple paradigmatic perspectives and focusing on translational application of research findings. Using the story of the Montgomery family, a biracial, multigenerational family, and their health experiences as a case study, chapters explore topics including patient–provider communication, health communication in the media, ethical issues, and public health crises. New chapters cover the potential for communication to address discrimination in healthcare settings, health information seeking, social support and caregiving, and the relationship between health and environmental communication. Chapters offer pedagogical features that will prove useful to students and instructors of health communication, such as summary boxes, theory tables, suggestions for in-class activities, discussion questions, and lists of additional resources.

    Developed for use in advanced undergraduate and master’s level health communication and public health courses, this text represents the breadth and depth of health communication theory and research as it exists today.

    Online resources for instructors including additional theory tables, PowerPoint slides, test questions and assignments, sample syllabi, and lists of additional resources are available at https://www.routledge.com/9781032100470.

    Unit I: Understanding Health Communication Foundations 

    1. Introduction to Health, Healthcare, and Health Communication 

    2. Discrimination and Health Communication 

    Unit II: Being a Patient 

    3. Patient–Provider Communication 

    4. The Patient Experience 

    5. Health Information Seeking 

    Unit III: Caring for Patients 

    6. Healthcare Provider Roles and Perspectives 

    7. Social Support and Informal Caregiving 

    8. End-of-Life Communication 

    Unit IV: Health Communication Challenges

    9. Mental Health and Mental Illness 

    10. Intercultural Health Communication 

    11. Ethical Issues in Health Communication 

    Unit V: Societal Level Health Communication Concerns 

    12. Health Communication in the Media 

    13. Environmental Health Communication   

    14. Public Health Crises

    Unit VI: Looking Forward  

    15. Your Next Steps in Health Communication 


    Nancy Grant Harrington is Professor of Communication in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky, USA.

    Rachael A. Record is Associate Professor of Communication at San Diego State University, USA.

    “My excitement for this book cannot be overstated. As our society more fully grapples with the complexities of health communication laid bare during the COVID-19 pandemic, and students from all disciplines want to become more knowledgeable about issues of health communication, this text will provide a solid, informed, and sensitive look at our field. This book, which nicely incorporates both the breadth and depth of our field, will serve as a useful resource for faculty teaching upper level health communication classes to students from all backgrounds. It is one that not only mentions but also deeply and actively grapples with issues of diversity, discrimination, medical ethics, and access issues across its fifteen chapters. Nowhere is this more clear than in the inclusion of the Montgomery family story, a companion narrative to accompany the textbook chapters that will be a phenomenal pedagogical feature for engaging with undergraduates. I look forward to adopting this book the next time I teach health communication.”

    Katharine J. Head, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA


    “I have been using the first edition of this book since it was published, and I am eager to adopt the second edition, Health Communication: Research and Practice for a Diverse and Changing World. Health communication is a diverse, dynamic, and rapidly developing field of study. To capture the many facets of our field and translate them within a context of higher education is no small feat. Having thoroughly reviewed this second edition, I believe that Drs. Nancy Harrington and Rachael Record have developed a textbook that will accomplish that feat. One of the ways the authors address the conundrum of competing against material that becomes rapidly outdated is to center chapters within more overarching theoretical approaches, which are then supported by individual research studies. For example, I may be biased as a scholar of technology and media adoption, but nothing seems to lose its shelf life quite so quickly as “new” communication technology research, unless the research is well supported theoretically. Thus, although media consumption, technology use, broadband access, etc. are deeply interwoven with health and communication, chapters about these topics (e.g., “new technologies in health communication,” “internet and eHealth”) quickly become outdated. The authors have addressed this issue in multiple ways, for example, focusing on health information seeking (online and offline), which will ensure usability for many years to come. Finally, Health Communication: Research and Practice for a Diverse and Changing World follows the lead of the subtitle change. In the second edition authors both add and reorder information to prime readers to think about how others may experience health and engaged a strategy that I hope will help those of us who adopt this textbook to inspire discussion and action that will achieve each decade of the U.S. government’s Healthy People goals – “improve the health and well-being of people.” All people.”

    Kate Magsamen-Conrad, The University of Iowa, USA


    “Health Communication: Research and Practice for a Diverse and Changing World, piloted in my 300-level Introduction to Health Communication course, was very well received by a large and diverse group of students ranging from communication to kinesiology majors. The students particularly appreciated the relevant and timely content, health justice-based case studies, and the narrative flow of the text. I am confident and excited about utilizing this textbook as a resource for my future classes.”

    Rati Kumar, San Diego State University, USA