This article describes a new comprehensive, theory-driven model for messaging that takes into consideration the politically polarized responses to the COVID-19 threat.
Researchers have created the ideological health spirals model (IHSM) to holistically explain the relationships between individual-level characteristics and political, media, and sociological contexts that influence an individuals’ likelihood of engaging in specific health-related behaviors. The focus is on identity-based motivations and how they interact with fragmented media environments and socially sorted interpersonal contexts to create discrepancies in individuals’ communication experiences that inform specific health behaviors. These interactions influence behavioral, normative, and efficacy beliefs, which in turn affect behaviors. Building off of social identity theory and the theory of reasoned action, the IHSM enables researchers to determine the most effective communication strategies for encouraging recommended behaviors.