The potential for social marketing in injury prevention

I came across an interesting paper in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this week, titled “Social marketing: why injury prevention needs to adopt this behaviour change approach” (read more at

The Authors recognise the prominent push for individuals of all ages, sizes, and experience to increasingly participate in sporting activities. Whilst the general public may be well aware of the health benefits of physical activity, the same general public may not be aware of what they can do to minimise the risk of incurring a sports-related injury. The Authors also recognise that the key messages of the sports-related injury prevention literature can be translated through social marketing approaches.

Social marketing approaches are founded upon exchange theory, in which “consumers are perceived to be self-interested actors who are motivated to seek the largest personal benefit for the smallest personal cost.” As further noted by the Authors, social marketing campaigns should ensure that the exchange is “socially desirable and easily done”.

Most importantly for injury prevention researchers, practitioners and policy-makers is that the social marketing approach can be utilised within virtually any injury prevention domain, not just in relation to preventing injuries in sports. Whilst social marketing has been used in injury prevention within the domain of road safety, further gains can be made within this domain also.

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