Methods of Health Promotion - Evaluation (2)
Media Campaigns: Media campaigns have been shown to be effective. However, the greatest effects are seen during the campaign, so the changes in health behaviours are not necessarily long-lasting. Over-exposure can reduce their effectiveness. Can be used to target different groups – e.g. television adverts to combat teenage binge-drinking can be used between programmes that teenagers are likely to watch. Can be used alongside other methods of health promotion, e.g. to promote changes in legislation.
Legislation: Legislation takes a long time to pass, by which time the particular health issue may not be a problem. Changes in the law can only be issued by the Government - so is based on their ideas of what is healthy/unhealthy behaviour. Needs effective enforcement - legislation will not work if there is no punishment for breaking the law. Must be used in conjunction with media campaigns in order to make people aware that the law has changed.
Fear Arousal: Minimal fear has been shown to be effective. However, shock tactics might not work – attention focuses on the source of the fear rather than the message of the campaign. Fear can also cause people to go into denial – they don’t believe something so bad can happen to them, so don’t take measures to prevent it. Other research (e.g. Leventhal, 1970) has suggested that campaigns are most effective when telling people what they should do, rather than what they shouldn’t.