Review: Understanding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk perceptions among the public to enhance risk communication efforts: a practical approach for outbreaks, Finland, February 2020

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Review: Understanding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk perceptions among the public to enhance risk communication efforts: a practical approach for outbreaks, Finland, February 2020

Review: Understanding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk perceptions among the public to enhance risk communication efforts: a practical approach for outbreaks, Finland, February 2020

This article provides five risk perception domains to address when communicating with the public about COVID-19.

Using real-time qualitative data collection and analysis, researchers analyzed social media posts and emails to assess COVID-19 risk perception and trust towards public authorities and to inform weekly risk communication efforts. Based on the results, meaningful communication should be created around five risk perception domains:

Catastrophic potential

  • Provide facts
  • Express care and concern
  • Avoid downplaying strong feelings

Probability of dying

  • Emphasize known facts about COVID-19 mortality
  • Emphasize actions taken by authorities

Reasons for exposure

  • Emphasize known facts about the global situation to address the mode of transmission
  • Provide effective prevention efforts to address the location of transmission
  • Humanize infected people by telling their stories

Belief of being in control of the situation

  • Emphasize controllable actions (e.g., handwashing, cough etiquette)

Trust towards authorities

  • Repeat information and provide an explanation
  • Communicate actions
|2020-04-15T09:10:05-04:00April 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Understanding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk perceptions among the public to enhance risk communication efforts: a practical approach for outbreaks, Finland, February 2020

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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