This commentary proposes a cultural framework for community-engaged global communication responses to COVID-19.
Community engagement requires knowledge of culture in framing COVID-19 messages to reduce collective risks. Structural inequity is evident is minority communities nationally and globally and therefore must be considered when encouraging community engagement for collective actions. Although messages about COVID-19 prevention behaviors (e.g., social distancing) may be the same globally, framing strategies differ across cultures and communities (e.g., individualist versus collectivist). The authors argue for using the PEN-3 cultural model developed in 1989 to engage communities in communication about COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The model consists of three domains with three factors that form the acronym PEN:
- Cultural identity: person, extended family, neighborhood
- Relationships and expectations: perceptions, enablers, nurturers
- Cultural empowerment: positive, existential, negative
Using this model, the focus on cultural decision making about the pandemic is about what societal reasoning and rationale are at the foundation of each message and which populations and communities are the intended audience for the tailored messages. Reframing COVID-19 communication messages must include the community has a collective and not just individual decisions.