Safer sex: Passionate escapism versus rational thought
Bird, S. (2010) Safer sex: Passionate escapism versus rational thought. In: International Nonprofit and Social Marketing Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 15-16 July 2010.
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Current social marketing practice emphasises the use of theory, this being one of the benchmark criteria used by the UK’s National Social Marketing Centre to define good social marketing practice. Such theories include the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), the Health Belief Model (Hochbaum et al., 1952; Rosenstock, 1966; Rosenstock et al. 1988) or the Transtheoretical Model of Change (Prochaska et al., 1991). These first two theories suggest that man acts as Homo economicus, using rational decision making based upon expected outcomes i.e. value-expectancy types of theory. The third model suggests that behaviour change follows predictable patterns, enabling us to plan stepwise interventions. Recent collaborative research between the University of the West of England, Stockport Primary Care Trust and the UK’s National Social Marketing Centre took a qualitative approach to investigate decision making processes for condom use and chlamydia testing amongst heterosexual young people aged 16-24 from a relatively deprived area. This paper draws contrasts between common theoretical models used in social marketing and the apparently haphazard decision making used by these young people in relation to sexual health. It goes on to suggest how social marketers can best influence decision making for topics such as sexual health, where influences such as emotion, peer pressure, alcohol and drugs and self-esteem combine to undermine rational decision making models.
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