Research utilization and the impact of health promotion policy

  • von Lengerke T
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Abstract

Objectives: The conditions under which research utilization leads to policy impact are an important issue in health promotion. This analysis tests the assumption that utilization is positively associated with policy impact only if both political will (i.e., policy opportunities) and social strategies (in intervention and implementation) are present. Methods: A survey of 719 policymakers involved in four policies was conducted in six European countries. Policy impact (output, i.e., program implementation, and outcome, i.e., effects on behavior) and its proposed determinants were analyzed. Results: Regression analyses reveal limited cross-national differences in research utilization, but show comparably high use in policies with a pathogenic focus. Utilization is associated with impact only if political will is lacking; for outcome, this tends to depend on social strategies. Political will is the strongest determinant of impact. Conclusions: Research utilization is not supporting health promotion policy impact if political will is favorable, but if it is poor; political will itself is the crucial determinant of impact. The study contributes to the ``research utilization{''}-field by showing that research utilization may partially compensate for lack of, rather than depend on, political will.

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Authors

  • T von Lengerke

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