Persuasion

Oftentimes, people engage in desired behaviors because they are persuaded to or told to by someone who has influence over them. This influence can be based on respect, liking, or power from the other person. Thus persuasion is another mechanism for increasing self-efficacy. Persuasion occurs when one person influences another to think or behave in a certain manner. Persuasion can be accomplished by providing knowledge and information in areas where knowledge and information may be needed to accomplish a goal. For example, telling the individual where there are job openings and requesting that they go and check them out is persuasion. As with modeling, persuasion will be more effective if there is similarity between the persuader and the person who is persuaded. Persuasion, like modeling, is also more effective when mutual respect and liking between the persuader and the persuaded exist. When a person changes his behavior because he likes and respects the persuader, behavioral change is likely to be internalized and not disappear when the persuader is no longer around.

Persuasion must be done in a manner that is accessible and congruent with the target person's values, norms, and language. For African Americans, a formal or highly structured presentation by a persuader on how to conduct a job interview may by less effective than experiential sessions in which the individual talks more informally about the experience of going on a job interview.

As with modeling, the credibility of the persuader is contingent upon the person's ability to relate to and connect at an interpersonal level. The absence of an interpersonal relationship may account for some of the lack of persuasion or nonadherence of African Americans to recommended medical or rehabilitation services and treatment by Whites. A technical or expert basis for persuasion may not be effective in the absence of such an interpersonal relationship. Thus, as a consumer, I may not necessarily comply to prescribed appointments because you tell me to based on your status as the expert, but because I like and respect you, and I want to do what you think is right. Characteristics of the persuader then are a consideration in selecting professionals who provide services and health care to consumers with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Our group had an individual with a physical disability function as a persuader. This individual was perceived as very credible, and group members were persuaded because they liked and respected her.

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