Social identity and health: An intergroup communication approach to cancer

Jake Harwood, Lisa Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


This article describes the ways in which group identifications and stereotypes can inform our understanding of cancer prevention and treatment as well as more general social processes surrounding the experience of cancer. From a perspective grounded in social identity theory, we describe the ways in which understanding primary identities (i.e., those associated with large social collectives such as cultural groups), secondary identities (i.e., those associated with health behaviors), and tertiary identities (i.e., those associated with cancer) can help explain certain cancer-related social processes. We forward a series of propositions to stimulate further research on this topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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