Weekly Review: Communicating COVID-19 – December 14, 2020

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Weekly Review: Communicating COVID-19 – December 14, 2020

Tailoring Messages to Specific Population Needs

Targeting specific populations during the pandemic offers health communicators a more tailored approach for informing and persuading individuals about recommended COVID-19 behaviors. For example, scientists already know that COVID-19 disproportionately affects African American communities with high infection and mortality rates. A group of researchers then utilized community-based participatory research by partnering with African American churches, a trusted community source, to conduct a needs assessment, distribute emergency preparedness strategies, and disseminate COVID-19 information electronically. It was determined that through this partnership, information reached 12,000 church members to help educate and prepare under-resourced communities. This targeted approach likely reached more people and provided information from credible sources to meet the needs of the community than would have been possible without the partnership.

Another group of researchers studied college students to determine sources of COVID-19 information of college students and how trust in those sources influences their willingness to engage in recommended behaviors, particularly vaccine acceptance. The researchers learned that college students typically use, and trust, credible sources for their information. To be most effective, messages about vaccines should come from scientists, and not pharmaceutical companies. When college students trusted the source of information, they were more likely to accept the use of vaccines. It is also important to note that students who trusted social media as a source of information were less likely to accept the use of COVID-19 vaccines. Health authorities and scientists need to promote vaccines to increase uptake while also dispelling misinformation circulating on social media.

International Studies

Finally, this week, international studies of COVID-19 communication have resulted in a quantitative risk assessment tool that measures individual and regional risk (http://www.covira.info); recommendations for strict initiatives to control the infodemic of misinformation on social media; and a call for interdisciplinary, multi-method research approaches to study scientific knowledge and improve sociocultural communication strategies.

|2020-12-14T08:35:34-05:00December 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Weekly Review: Communicating COVID-19 – December 14, 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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