Change occurs when people are able to share common meanings and understand each other. In health communication, messages affect attitudes only when people understand, process, and remember them and feel motivated to apply them in their everyday life. In order to be effective, communication needs to respond to an audience’s needs. This general principle also applies to interpersonal communications, such as one-on-one teaching, counseling, personal selling, and provider-patient communications.
Several authors explain people’s behavior in the interpersonal communication context in terms of the desire to satisfy a specific need. Rubin, Perse, and Barbato (1988) developed the Interpersonal Communication Motives Scale (ICM) to explain the dynamics and motivation of interpersonal communication. Based on this model, people interact and speak with each other to satisfy specific needs. Being part of a social group or including others in one’s group. Appreciating others. Controlling other people’s actions and increasing behavioral compliance. Being amused and entertained. Escaping and being distracted from routine activities. Relaxing and relieving stress.
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In their analysis, Rubin, Perse, and Barbato (1988) also showed that people tend to be less anxious when their motivation to communicate is to include others or to feel included. Having a goolife, which entails overall satisfaction, good health, economic security, and social gratification, among others, also influences the reasons for which people communicate. People who are experiencing life difficulties tend to communicate for “comfort,” while those with a good life “communicate more for pleasure and affection”
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