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PHI 511 Public Health : Social and Behavioral Issues

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Purpose: The primary purpose of this assignment is to help you apply your learning thus far to a social media campaign which aims to improve health through the use of social media technology (e.g., through Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, or other media channels). This assignment will help you meet several of the course objectives, including being able to 1) describe how social and behavioral science models and theories can be used to understand and intervene on current public health issues; 2) understand how social and behavioral science models and theories are used to design, implement, and evaluate public health programs; 3) critically describe and evaluate the state of the public health social and behavioral science research literature; and 4) communicate effectively about health behavior theories and models in oral and written formats.

Overview of Assignment: Students will write a paper applying individual and social theories to a social media campaign focused on a health topic of their choosing. 

1: Describe the target population and health issue of the campaign [10 points]. In this section, you should address why the health behavior/health issue targeted by the campaign is important in the US population. Importance should be discussed in terms of:

(a) Why is this health indicator a major issue (e.g., number of people affected, associated health outcomes)?

(b) What subgroup of the population (if any) are targeted by this social media campaign, and why (e.g., are they at highest risk)?

2: Application of the social and behavioral theories you have learned so far. In this section, you will select theories that we have discussed in this class and apply them to the social media campaign.

(a) Describe at least one theory that you think was likely used during the development of this campaign.

(b) Were some aspects of the theory used more than others?

(c) Was this product / campaign based more on changing individual behavior, or was it meant for a broader population?

3: Improvement: now that you are an expert in Social and Behavioral Sciences, how would you do the campaign differently?
Justify and support your answers.

(a) What changes would you make to the campaign?

(b) What theory/theories support your changes?


1.Public health surveillance has provided a lead to many public health issues facing the world today. Such problems like psychological, social and behavioral issues have been of significant impact to different target groups for example, the youth and teenagers in Canada. The global statistics show that the Major Depressive Disorder also known as the MDE is the major cause and the second most leading origin of disability (Wiens, et al., 2017). According to the report published by Pearson, Janz, & Ali (2013), among the young adults aged 15 to 24, 9 percent of the female population, compared to 5.3 percent of the male teenage population experienced high rates of depression. Also, 4.1 percent male population and 6.8 percent female population of ages 25 to 44 suffered the same disorder. Besides, 5.6 percent and 3.4 percent of the female and male population respectively of ages 45 to 64 experienced depression. Lastly, 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent of the female and male population in Canada of ages 65 and above as per the research report had high rates of depression. The mental health issue based on the findings is high among the teenagers and female population and low among the aging population (Pearson, Janz, & Ali, 2013). This is the reason this study aims to examine a teenage campaign program which has been used to sensitize the teenagers on matters mental health.

2.The campaign was rolled out on Twitter aimed at raising awareness related to mental health which is affecting many teenagers in Canada. Teenagers have been targeted in this campaign because are likely to be exposed to different and tempting environments at different stages of their growth. Besides, their bodies undergo inevitable biological and physical changes that are likely to influence them to engage in unacceptable behaviors (CMHA, 2014). The campaign not only aimed at raising funds for those mentally ill, but it also aimed at ensuring the teenagers get involved in social issues and mental aspects which will help them in guiding their lifestyle. The social cognitive theory according to (Bandura, 2016) expounds person’s behavior in a dynamic model in which the environmental factors influence the behavior and the personal factors influences interact continually. The program aimed at influencing the teenagers to understand how and why mental illness could arise and how it can be supported. The observation and familiarization of the situation is the critical element of the theory which was used in this campaign (Gawronski & Strack, 2012). Based on his own experience on how he struggled to come out about his gay status, Rothery, the campaigner initiator, acted as a role model to the fellow teenagers and youths. With the environment rolling up campaigns and educating teenagers and youths in matters related to mental disorders, the campaign will be able to achieve its goals and objectives of both sensitization and exerting knowledge to the affected population.

3.The campaign can be done differently by classifying the specific mental disorders which the funds raised and awareness created were meant to address (Alkaya & Hepaktan, 2003). This is aimed at ensuring that the individuals participating in the campaign are able to narrow down to the exact issues facing them so that appropriate and specified help and feedback can be obtained. Through this campaign strategy each participant will feel part of the group and therefore, facilitate him or her to feel free to tell his or her concerns extensively.  Also, there will be the need to for the future campaign to incorporate many teenagers who experienced mental illness before and managed to come out of it. This approach will help those who facing similar challenges on how to cope with situation. Promoting the aspect of role model among the youths and teenagers, though it was slightly captured in the campaign, however, the number of role models and those who had undergone the same experience in the past was minimal. Also, the future campaign must exert self-discipline and control among the teenagers, an act which was not stressed in the campaign. These changes are backed up by the theory of planned behavior as exhibited by  (Lange, Kruglanski, & Higgins, 2011). Coming up with measures which ensure individuals develop self-control measures will be an essential aspect of the next campaign which will be carried out. This is because self-control supersedes constant monitoring and punishments as a method of carrying out a successful campaign. The theory of planned behavior will be an appropriate basis for the introduction of new ways of conducting the next campaign.

The campaign


Alkaya, A. G., & Hepaktan, E. (2003). Organizational Change. YÖNET M VE EKONOM, 30-58.

Bandura, A. (2016). Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Michigan: Prentice-Hall.

CMHA. (2014, May 12). Canadian Mental Health Association. Retrieved from

Gawronski, B., & Strack, F. (2012). Cognitive Consistency: A Fundamental Principle in Social Cognition. Newyork: Guilford Press,.

Lange, P. A., Kruglanski, A. W., & Higgins, E. T. (2011). Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology: Volume One. NY: SAGE.

Pearson, C., Janz, T., & Ali, J. (2013, September). Mental and substance use disorders in Canada. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no.82-624-X, pp. 1-10.

Wiens, K., Williams, J. V., Lavorato, D. H., Duffy, A., Pringsheim, M., Sajobi, T. T., & Patten, S. B. (2017). Is the prevalance of major depression increasing in the Canadian Adolescent population? Assesing trends from 2000 to 2014. Journal of Affective Disorders, 22-26.

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