application of the diffusion of innovations theory

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Application of the Diffusion of Innovations Theory

The Diffusion of Innovations theory is used to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas spread through social systems. One prominent example of the Diffusion of Innovations theory is the promotion of bicycle helmets in New Zealand, where 93% of bikers wear helmets, compared to about 50% in the United States. During the 1970s, helmet use was an innovation that coincided with a boom in bicycle riding, but it was adopted by very few cyclists. This changed in New Zealand in the late 1980s, mostly due to the dissemination efforts of Rebecca Oaten after her son, Austen, suffered permanent brain damage in 1986 after being hit by a car while en route to school on his bicycle. Mrs. Oaten’s communication channels included talking to children in schools and lobbying the government for a helmet law. Implementation of the law was finally accomplished in 1994 and has now resulted in the diffusion of helmet wearing to nearly all of the population.

To prepare for this Discussion, select an injury prevention intervention to which to apply the Diffusion of Innovations theory.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post a brief description of the injury prevention intervention you selected. Then, explain how you might apply the Diffusion of Innovations theory to that intervention. Your explanation must include characteristics of the innovation, characteristics of adopters, and features of the settings or environmental contexts. Finally, explain the strengths and limitations of using Diffusion of Innovations theory with the intervention.

Be sure to support your postings and responses to your colleagues’ postings with specific references to the Learning Resources and the current literature.


Learning Resources

Sharma, M., & Kanekar, A. (2008). Diffusion of Innovations theory for alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 52(1), 3–7.

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