The use of Diffusion of Innovations in a Mass Media Campaign

"Diffusion of innovations is a theory that describes how new ideas, opinions and behaviors spread throughout a community."(Valente, p.34) In this paper I will show how this theory was applied in the reproductive health campaign in Bolivia.
Diffusion theory is used to study the way in which new information is spread throughout a certain population and how innovation is adopted. To begin with, there are five stages in the adoption process:
Thefirst stage is awareness of the innovation – in the case of the Bolivia campaign it is the introduction of family planning. People have to become aware of the new idea and the diffusion of this idea takes more or less time according to the media used to spread it through the population. Usually the mass media are used to spread awareness but it can also be done through primary social networks, i.e. word-of-mouth.
The next stage is persuasion. After people become aware of the new practice they have to be able to learn more about it in order to potentially develop a positive attitude towards it. Different persuasion strategies are adopted according to the sub-population that is targeted. The goal is for this population to accept the new idea as a solution to an existing problem.
Persuasion then makes possible the third step, the decision. Individuals will then make a conscious decision to try a new behavior. This is a vital step in behavior change as is represents a transition from conception of an idea, acceptance of the idea to motivation to take action.
The fourth stage is the implementation of the behavior. The stage represents a transition from processes that are uniquely cognitive to processes that are behavioral. This is therefore the most significant stage in behavior change.The cognitive processes that proceed this stage provide the population with the means to practice/implement the new behavior that had hitherto been advocated.
The last stage is behav…

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