"Is the preventive
action socially acceptable?”
Another determinant to consider is whether or not people
believe that the action is socially acceptable to their community,
their family, or to others that are important to them (e.g.,
their doctor or pastor). Another name for this barrier is
"perceived social acceptability." If someone thinks
that their neighbors, family, or others important to them
would criticize them for adopting a particular practice, they
may not do it, regardless of their personal opinion. For that
reason, we need to educate all of the people who are consulted
when a person makes a decision.
If a child's grandmother influences the child's mother
a lot, and believes that ORS is a bad idea, the mother
may not use ORS. If we do not convince the grandmother
of the importance of using ORS, then we may not be able
to convince the mother to try it.
What could we do (in terms of support activities) to overcome
these social norms? We could have a well-respected older
woman from the community talk on the importance of using
ORS. Another way would be to help the person justify what
he/she is doing (i.e., the new behavior) when talking
to others, but explaining it in a way that they can respect
(e.g., using cultural proverbs).
If a farmer thinks that other people will laugh at him
for using manure, he may not use it.
- The old fisherman said that he could not quit smoking
because all of his friends smoked. And by having no smoking
rules in place, he was able to quit more easily.
What sort of support activities could be used that would
help change social acceptability (e.g., support groups to
raise consciousness of the negative aspects of smoking)?
This determinant can also be turned around into a positive
attribute of the action. If people believe they can please
those important to them (e.g., their parents) by doing a particular
behavior (e.g., immunizing their child), you can ask them
who it pleases and why, and use their response when promoting
the behavior with others. For example, if you found that parents
immunized their children because the chief in their village
said it was important to do so (and they wanted to please
the chief), you could remind people of that fact when promoting