A group of poor health behaviors (smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and not taking medication as prescribed) have been shown to be important risk factors for the development of various chronic diseases including heart and lung diseases, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Getting people to adopt a healthy lifestyle including eating healthy, doing regular physical activity, and not smoking can be very challenging for doctors and other healthcare workers. Motivational communication is a communication style designed to motivate people to lead a healthy lifestyle, and many research studies have shown that it works!
However, there are still some important questions we need to answer: (1) Given that less than 35% of asthma patients take their medication as prescribed, can motivational communication help motivate asthma patients take their medication more regularly? (2) Given that motivational communication has been shown to be effective, many doctors and nurses are signing up for training programs. However, how much training do doctors need to be really good at motivating their patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle? (3) Getting the flu and pneumonia vaccine each year can help arthritis patients avoid painful flare ups, yet few patients accept to be vaccinated. Can motivational communication be used to motivate arthritis patients to get the flu and pneumonia vaccine?
This research program will seek to answer these questions by conducting 3 studies, all of which have received research funding. The results of this program will help improve doctor-patient communication, improve the care that patients receive, and help patients live longer healthier lives.