Br J Sports Med 47:665-667 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090567
  • Editorial

Social marketing: why injury prevention needs to adopt this behaviour change approach

  1. Caroline F Finch2
  1. 1Department of Marketing, Monash University, Caulfield East, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Joshua Daniel Newton, Department of Marketing, Monash University, PO Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia; joshua.newton{at}
  1. Contributors JDN, MTE and CFF are equal contributors.

  • Received 9 September 2011
  • Accepted 1 April 2012
  • Published Online First 3 May 2012

Government agencies, public health organisations and the private sector are increasingly funding campaigns to encourage participation in sport. These campaigns frequently achieve moderate levels of success,1 yet many of the individuals who heed these calls to action may be ill prepared for the physical rigours of sport, especially when campaigns do not address how to participate in sport safely. This is not an idle concern; individuals with limited experience in their sport of choice are at increased risk of developing a sports injury, as are those who have recently returned to sport after a prolonged absence.2 Public health campaigns aimed at encouraging sport participation should therefore take into account the findings from the sports injury prevention literature so that those who adopt the campaign messages will be less susceptible to experiencing sports injuries.

What is social marketing?

One approach that could be used to transfer the learnings from the sports injury prevention literature to the broader population is social marketing. Social marketing refers to ‘the adaptation of commercial marketing technologies to programs designed to influence the voluntary behaviour of target audiences to improve their personal welfare and that of the society of which they are …

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