Setting the Stage
The Conceptual Framework
- Cislaghi B.
- Heise L.
- 1.The role of power in decisions to adhere to (or not to adhere to) existing norms, and in identifying who benefits from retaining conventional norms, as central to understanding how norms develop and persist. Norms “compliance” and “deviance” are central components of social norms theory, yet the role of power has often been overlooked in the applications of social norms theory for health promotion. In the present framework, power is a central feature underlying and enforcing social norms, as well as behavior and health outcomes.
- 2.Gender norms (i.e., shared beliefs about the behaviors—and related roles and responsibilities—deemed appropriate for boys/men compared with girls/women) as essential to understanding gender dynamics and SRH outcomes. This subset of social norms defines appropriate rules of interaction, relationships, and roles at all levels of the socioecological framework. They help shape power relationships, which lead to different risks and opportunities for interventions seeking to improve SRH.
- 3.An emphasis on the multiple relationships between domains (individual, social, resources, and institutional). The intersections of these domains represent opportunities to disrupt, develop, or transform outcomes. In other words, multilevel approaches that target these intersecting opportunities may be able to leverage norm change for improved SRH outcomes.
- 4.Social norms at the center of the model because of their powerful influence on SRH outcomes. This demonstrates the pivotal role of norms while acknowledging that structural factors are fundamental in developing and maintaining power [], shaping gender and other social dynamics, and influencing health outcomes.
Applying Social Norms Theory to Improve Adolescent SRH
- Adolescence and the social determinants of health.Lancet. 2012; 379: 1641-1652
- What is normative in health communication research on norms? A review and recommendations for future scholarship.Health Commun. 2010; 25: 544-547
- What are social norms? How are they measured?.UNICEF/UCSD Center on Global Justice, New York2015
- Four avenues of normative influence: A research agenda for health promotion in low and mid-income countries.Health Psychol. 2018; 37: 562-573
- Women's demand for reproductive control: Understanding and addressing gender barriers.International Center for Research on Women, Washington, DC2012
- Gender socialization during adolescence in low- and middle-income countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes.UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti, Florence, Italy2017
- White paper: A conceptual model of women and girls' empowerment.Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Amsterdam, the Netherlands2017
- The theory of planned behaviors.Organ Behav Hum Decis Process. 1991; 50: 179-211
- The grammar of society: The nature and dynamics of social norms.Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK2006
- A focus theory of normative conduct: A theoretical refinement and reevaluation of the role of norms in human behavior.Adv Exp Soc Psychol. 1991; 24: 201-234
- A re-explication of social norms, ten years later.Commun Theor. 2015; 25: 393-409
- Processing gender: Lived experiences of reproducing and transforming gender norms over the life course of young people in northern Uganda.Cult Health Sex. 2018; 8: 1-17
- Using social norms theory for health promotion in low-income countries.Health Promot Int. 2018; https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/day017
- Ecological models of human development.2nd ed. International Encyclopedia of Education. Vol. 3. Elsevier, Oxford, UK1994
- Social norms, gender norms and adolescent girls: A brief guide.Overseas Development Institute, London, UK2015
- Marching to a different drummer: A cross-cultural comparison of young adolescents who challenge gender norms.J Adolesc Health. 2017; 61: S48-S54
- Inequitable gender norms from early adolescence to young adulthood in Uganda: Tool validation and differences across age groups.J Adolesc Health. 2017; 60: S15-S21
Conflicts of interest: The authors report no potential, perceived, or real conflict of interest.
Disclaimer: The publication of this article was made possible by the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The opinions or views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
User licenseCreative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) |
- Read, print & download
- Redistribute or republish the final article
- Text & data mine
- Translate the article
- Reuse portions or extracts from the article in other works
- Sell or re-use for commercial purposes
Elsevier's open access license policy