Communication Infrastructure Theory and Reproductive Health Disparities: Enhancing Storytelling Network Integration by Developing Interstitial Actors

Matthew D. Matsaganis, Annis G. Golden, Muriel E. Scott


This article reports on a multiyear intervention to address a key factor in African American women’s underutilization of reproductive health-care services in a small city: a communicative disjuncture between residents and community-based organizations (CBOs). Through the lens of communication infrastructure theory, we explicate processes through which the intervention reduced the communication disconnect between individual and organizational community actors. Analyses of interviews with community residents and CBOs show how the research team and an emergent group of residents working as peer health advocates functioned as interstitial actors who helped bridge the gap between micro- and meso-level actors. We discuss pragmatic implications of this research for health communication interventions and ways in which the study extends communication infrastructure theory.


communication infrastructure theory; community-based participatory research; reproductive health disparities; health communication intervention

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