1.7 Theoretical approach
1.7.1 Convergence theory
Convergence communication can be termed as an interaction routine where submissive partners feel compelled to interpret the world around them in ways consistent with dominant partners. It is a grounded theory that emerged from research examining family relationships. The interaction routine specific to this theory has three dimensions entailing; equilibrium, interpersonal deference, and motivation (Kincaid, 1988). Equilibrium means the equality of distribution, though in relationships involving convergence communication there is disequilibrium. In the scenario of a relationship, it means that there exists no equal power in evaluating meaning in interpersonal relations. The interpersonal deference on the other hand refers to the idea that one person in the relationship affords their partner meaning more significance. In motivation, the partner who participates in convergence communication at times perceives the convergence as a necessary condition for maintaining relationship satisfaction.
1.7.2 Social Penetration Theory
Social Penetration Theory was developed to explain relational closeness and proposes that relationships develop over time, through a process of self-disclosure. Social Penetration Theory commonly is described using an onion metaphor, to suggest the levels, or layers, of self-disclosure. Often only the outer layer, referred to as the surface layer, is the layer seen by others; people may make inferences based upon this general information (height, weight, etc.). Upon peeling back this first layer, more information about an individual is revealed in the peripheral layer. This information is still fairly general the type of information shared in an introduction in most social situations. Intermediate layers contain information that is infrequently shared, but not hidden. The final central layers encompass more private information, often disclosed with caution to select individuals. Such information could include deep emotions, core values, and beliefs (Altman & Taylor, 1987).
Many individuals know surface information about themselves, but far fewer are aware of private information contained in an intermediate or central layer. As interpersonal relationships develop, a reciprocal pattern of self-disclosure is observed. Self-disclosure increases after individuals have had satisfactory or rewarding interactions with others. Social penetration is defined by breadth (number of topics discussed) and depth (how personal is the information being discussed). In interactions between providers and patients, topics in the surface and peripheral layers may be discussed; the interaction may move quickly information contained in the patient’s intermediate or central layers. The provider may question the patient regarding sexual practices, drug and alcohol use, history of depression, etc. The vast amount of this information is one-sided with the provider asking multiple questions, but not sharing equally private information with the patient. Hence, the normal pattern of social penetration, occurring over time and being reciprocal, is often violated in provider-patient relationships.
This theory will be helpful in our thesis since it discusses how individuals employ social penetration to attain more self-disclosure from others. Community health workers could employ it to communicate with mothers as it will help them to get issues from them regarding breastfeeding.
1.7.2 Communication Privacy Management
The theory of Communication Privacy Management (CPM) was developed to understand the process of both concealing and revealing private information. Originally applied to personal relationships, but quite relevant to the provider-patient relationship, CPM suggests that both individual and collective boundaries are constructed around information deemed private. Boundaries regulate who is perceived to have control over the private information, who has access to the information, and how to protect that information from those outside the applied boundaries. The most recent overview of CPM discusses six underlying principles of the theory: (1) public-private dialectical tension; (2) conceptualization of private information; (3) privacy rules; (4) shared boundaries; (5) boundary coordination; and (6) boundary turbulence. The first three principles are characterized as “assumption maxims,” relating to managing presumably private information, whereas the latter three are characterized as “interaction maxims,” relating to how communication interactions are controlled when one chooses to reveal or conceal private information (Petronio & Durham, 2008).
1.8 Definition of terms
Interpersonal communication: it is the process through which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages
Exclusive breastfeeding: it means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.
Community health workers: he or she is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served.
Child mortality: refers to the death of infants and children under the age of five.