Marketing in a social context : an interpretive approach to behaviour change after a stimulus of illness
Many social marketing studies concern the uptake of 'healthful' behaviour changes (Andreasen, 2002). The issue contained in this thesis is why some people make and maintain dietary behavioural change and others do not. The participants in the study had taken a diagnostic test for cancer and received a result demonstrating that they were suffering from a minor bowel disease. Behaviour change literature was developed beyond the implementation of behaviour change (Bagozzi & Warshaw, 1990) and the thesis explored the factors involved in maintaining change (Lazarus, 1991; Rothman, 2000). An interpretivist approach was chosen so that the social context of the diagnostic test (source of stress) and the behaviour changes were explored (Hudson & Ozanne, 2001). A phenomenological methodology (Moustakas, 1994) utilised in depth semi-structured interviews to provide richer accounts of the participants' experiences (Sanders, 1982). A conceptual framework of literature was built (Miles & Huberman, 1994) consisting of key theoretical processes such as stimulus of change, appraisals and coping strategies (Becker, 1974; Bagozzi, 1992; Park & Folkman, 1997). Both content and interpretive analysis techniques were adopted when analysing interview data. The interpretive analysis provided a clearer picture of actual behaviour change and was focused on three groups of participants who had different patterns of behaviour; maintainers of behaviour change; relapsers from change and those who did not make behaviour changes. The study makes a contribution to behaviour change literature (Prochaska & Di Clemente, 1992; Bagozzi, 1992; Huffman et al, 2000; Folkman et al, 1986). The thesis also made a contribution to social marketing and social policy such as knowledge of diet from childhood, social support and the management of health at work. The interpretive methodological approach explored the patterns of change in the context of these participants' lives and this developed more understanding of qualitative methodologies within social marketing.