Does theory inform practice in health promotion in Australia?
In recent years, there have been numerous papers discussing the importance of improving the link between health promotion researchers and practitioners. Several reviews have been undertaken to determine the extent to which health promotion research is disseminated to, and utilized by, practitioners in the development and implementation of health promotion programs. These studies have generally been limited to reviews of literature rather than directly gathering data from practitioners. This paper reports on a survey of Australian health promotion practitioners undertaken to investigate the extent to which they are aware of, understand and utilize the major health promotion theories and models derived from research in the areas of psychology and communication. We found that none of the theories or models included in this study-the 'standard' theories and models taught in health promotion courses, and included in the leading textbooks-were used by more than 50% of practitioners in their work. The only models being used by more than one-third of the practitioners were PRECEDE-PROCEED and the Transtheoretical (Stages of Change) Model. The paper concludes with possible explanations for the low level of utilization of theories and models, and suggestions for increasing their usage based on information sources accessed by these practitioners.