Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: September 17, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959384 | Print ISBN: 9781412959377 | Online ISBN: 9781412959384| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Problematic Integration Theory
Austin S. Babrow
Problematic integration (PI) theory is an attempt to illuminate the process of sense-making in situations that defy easy understanding. Introduced in 1992 and developed by Austin Babrow and his colleagues, the theory adds several distinctive claims to more widely held propositions about how humans make sense of their experience. Although PI theory is a general perspective on communication in difficult situations, many applications have been made in the area of health communication. Over time, as well, the framework is making its way into both general reviews of theory and applications to an ever broader range of phenomena. A brief review of the theory's central ideas illustrates its reach. PI theory holds that all meaning is associational: Human beings make sense of, find meaning in, or understand the world of things, people, events, ideas, and so on by associating these objects in their minds with various characteristics, causes, effects, and so ...