5.4.1  Five stages of the adoption process

Diffusion of an innovation is usually considered to occur through a five step process. The five stages (steps) in the adoption process are: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation.

  1. Knowledge

    During this stage the individual is first exposed to an innovation but lacks information about the innovation.

    A sexually active adolescent called Ermias hears or is told about condoms for the first time, but doesn’t know much about the subject.

  2. Persuasion

    At this stage the individual is interested in the innovation and actively seeks information and more details about the innovation.

    Ermias becomes interested in condoms and tries to find out more information about condoms and how he should use them.

  3. Decision

    In this stage the individual takes the concept of the innovation and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of using the innovation — and then decides whether to adopt or reject the innovation.

    Based on the information he has found out about condoms and considering his own situation, Ermias has decided to use condoms.

  4. Implementation

    During this stage the individual determines the usefulness of the innovation and may search for further information about it.

    Ermias has used condoms and he has appreciated the usefulness of condoms for his own situation. There will be benefits for him if he continues to use them.

  5. Confirmation

    In this stage the individual finalises their decision to continue using the innovation and may use the innovation to its fullest potential.

    Ermias has made his final decision to use condoms always, consistently and correctly.

Remember that some young people might be reluctant to talk about issues to do with their sexual health and may need skilled help before they adopt safe practices such as condom use.

5.4  Theory of Diffusion of Innovations

5.4.2  Rate of adoption