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Trait Approaches

  • By: Theodore A. Avtgis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Personality and communication trait approaches to health communication assume that there are habitual ways of behaving and thinking within the health communication context that remain relatively stable across situations and time. To understand this thoroughly, one needs to understand the role of traits in general and their application to health communication.

Two Schools of Thought

There are several different assumptions about how traits are developed and maintained throughout a person's life. One school of thought assumes that both personality traits and communication traits are something people are born with and are biologically/genetically based. As such, people have little control as to whether or not these traits can be changed. Similar to a family history of high cholesterol or blood pressure, while eating and exercising may have ...

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