Scoping Review of COVID-19 Health Communication Research Authored by CHRC Student and Director

This article reports a scoping review of emerging research on COVID-19 health communication. We reviewed and analyzed 206 articles published in 40 peer-reviewed communication journals between January 2020 to April 2021. Our review identified key study characteristics and overall themes and trends in this rapidly expanding field of research. Our review of health communication scholarship during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that health communication scholars have risen to the challenges and interrogated important issues in COVID-19 communication at the individual, group, organizational, and societal levels. We identified important gaps that warrant future research attention including experimental research that seeks to test the causal effects of communication, studies that evaluate communication interventions in under-served populations, research on mental health challenges imposed by the pandemic, and investigations on the promise of emerging communication technologies for supporting pandemic mitigation efforts.

Lin, T., & Nan, X. (2022). A Scoping Review of Emerging COVID-19 Health Communication Research in Communication and Media Journals. Health Communication, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2022.2091916

Yuan Wang

CHRC Assistant Co-Authors Study About COVID-19 Vaccine Twitter Discourse

Wang, Y., & Chen, Y. (2022). Characterizing discourses about COVID-19 vaccines on Twitter: a topic modeling and sentiment analysis approach. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1080/17538068.2022.2054196

Evidence-based health communication is crucial for facilitating vaccine-related knowledge and addressing vaccine hesitancy. To that end, it is important to understand the discourses about COVID-19 vaccination and attend to the publics’ emotions underlying those discourses. We collect tweets related to COVID-19 vaccines from March 2020 to March 2021. In total, 304,292 tweets from 134,015 users are collected. We conduct a Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) modeling analysis and a sentiment analysis to analyze the discourse themes and sentiments. This study identifies seven themes of COVID-19 vaccine-related discourses. Vaccine advocacy (24.82%) is the most widely discussed topic about COVID-19 vaccines, followed by vaccine hesitancy (22.29%), vaccine rollout (12.99%), vaccine facts (12.61%), recognition for healthcare workers (12.47%), vaccine side effects (10.07%), and vaccine policies (4.75%). Trust is the most salient emotion associated with COVID-19 vaccine discourses, followed by anticipation, fear, joy, sadness, anger, surprise, and disgust. Among the seven topics, vaccine advocacy tweets are most likely to receive likes and comments, and vaccine fact tweets are most likely to receive retweets. When talking about vaccines, publics’ emotions are dominated by trust and anticipation, yet mixed with fear and sadness. Although tweets about vaccine hesitancy are prevalent on Twitter, those messages receive fewer likes and comments than vaccine advocacy messages. Over time, tweets about vaccine advocacy and vaccine facts become more dominant whereas tweets about vaccine hesitancy become less dominant among COVID-19 vaccine discourses, suggesting that publics become more confident about COVID-19 vaccines as they obtain more information.

Sun Young Lee

CHRC Research Group Publishes Study on Visual Framing of Disasters

Check out this new study from Assistant Professor Sun Young Lee (pictured), alum Dr. Jungkyu Rhys Lim, and candidate Duli Shi!

Lee, S. Y., Lim, J. R., & Shi, D. (2022). Visually Framing Disasters: Humanitarian Aid Organizations’ Use of Visuals on Social Media. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1177/10776990221081046

The present study seeks to systematically describe how humanitarian aid organizations use visuals in their natural disaster-related social media messages and to analyze their effects on social media engagement. Using Rodriguez and Dimitrova’s (2011) four levels of visual framing, we performed a content analysis of 810 tweets from 38 aid organizations. The results showed that, overall, the organizations’ visuals had an emphasis on victims and on disaster relief efforts. The most effective types of visual framing, however, were not those the aid organizations most commonly used. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications.

Victoria Ledford

New CHRC Alumna and Student Research on Messages and Opioid Use Disorders Published in Health Communication

Ma, Z., Ma, R., & Ledford, V. (2022). Is My Story Better Than His Story? Understanding the Effects and Mechanisms of Narrative Point of View in the Opioid Context. Health Communication, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2022.2037198

Sharing the stories of people whose lives are impacted by Opioid Use Disorders (OUDs) can be a promising strategy to reduce stigma and increase support for beneficial public policies. Since a story can be told from a first-person or third-person point of view (POV), this study sought to (1) determine the relative persuasive effects of narrative POV and (2) identify the underlying psychological mechanisms, including character identification and psychological reactance, of such narratives. A one-way between-subjects experiment was conducted among a college student sample (N = 276). Narrative POV was manipulated by describing a college student’s OUD experience from either the first- or third-person POV. Findings demonstrated that POV did not influence identification but had a significant effect on reactance. Specifically, the first-person (vs. third-person) POV narrative led to lower reactance, which was associated with participants’ decreased desire to socially distance themselves from people with OUDs and stronger support for public health-oriented policies regarding OUDs. This study sheds light on the mixed findings revealed in the literature and has practical importance in health message design in the current opioid epidemic.

Yan Qin

CHRC Alum, Student, and Faculty Publish New Article in Mobile Media & Communication

Qin, Y., Wang, X., & Kang, N. (2021). A meta-analysis of the overall effect of mHealth physical activity interventions for weight loss and the moderating effect of behavioral change theories, techniques, and mobile technologies. Mobile Media & Communication, 20501579211054929

Mobile technologies offer the potential for efficacious and cost-effective lifestyle interventions for weight loss. Extant research indicates that mobile health (mHealth) lifestyle interventions are potentially effective and practical methods of weight loss, but it is less known what intervention characteristics are associated with weight loss effects. This meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of mHealth physical activity interventions for weight loss compared with non-technology/usual care interventions and the moderating effects of behavioral change theories, techniques, and mobile technologies. A total of 24 studies were identified based on inclusion criteria. Weight loss was the primary outcome. The results showed a medium significant effect size (d = 0.395; 95% CI= 0.243, 0.546; Z = 5.107, p < 0.001; N = 5146) favoring mHealth interventions. Interventions were significantly more effective when wearable devices were used (QB = 4.102, df = 1, p < 0.05) and when feedback was employed (QB = 4.566, df = 1, p < 0.05). The implications for future mHealth intervention design are discussed.

https://doi.org/10.1177/20501579211054929

Sumin Fang

CHRC Faculty and Alum Publish New Article in Communication Studies

Fang, S., & Aldoory, L. (2021). Acquaintance, Coach, or Buddy?: Perceived Relationships between Chinese Women and Mobile Fitness Technology, Communication Studies, DOI: 10.1080/10510974.2021.2011351 Chinese women are among the most frequent users of fitness technology, and yet the least likely to adhere to a fitness regimen. Little research has been done on preference, use, and perceptions of […]

Digital Community Digital Social Media Icon

Online Message Processing for Effective Public Communication and Engagement in Issues Related to Controversial Science and Technology

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Digital Community Digital Social Media Icon, six people sitting around a table, using various devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops

Lead Researcher: Jiyoun Kim

Summary: This project features experimental studies of online message processing for effective public communication and engagement in issues related to controversial (and sometimes unfamiliar) science and technology. As humans are by nature social animals, for example, this projects examines how social cues expressed in online content stimulate individuals’ cognitive processing and online news engagement intention. One of the goals of this project is empowering the public to make informed decisions. Since people’s rational responses could be impaired or interfered with by emotional arousal and/or mental agitation and most science- or health-related topics involve information under conditions of stress, this project seeks to understand what makes communication the most effective in situations of high concern or controversy.

Sexual Health concept. On the table stethoscope and colored pencils

Young Adults Responses to Sexual Health Messages

Sexual Health concept. On the table stethoscope and colored pencils

Lead Researcher: Anita Atwell Seate

Summary: This projects examines the influence of psychological closeness and message framing on sexual health attitudes and behavioral intentions among undergraduate students.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine with syringe for injection

Promoting Adolescent HPV Vaccination among African American Parents through Message Framing

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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine with syringe for injection

Principal Investigator: Xiaoli Nan
Co-Investigators: Cheryl Holt, School of Public Health, UMCP; Min Qi Wang, School of Public Health, UMCP’ Shana Ntiri, School of Medicine, UMB; and Clement Adebamowo, School of Medicine, UMB
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute; $2,212,269 (2018-2023)

Summary: The 2014 President’s Cancer Panel called underuse of HPV vaccines “a serious, but correctable threat to progress against cancer.” The Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, more recently, identified expanding the use of HPV vaccines as a top priority for cancer prevention, especially in medically underserved populations. Effective communication is crucial to widespread adoption of preventive measures against cancer like the HPV vaccines. Built upon recent advances in communication and behavioral sciences, the proposed project seeks to to develop and evaluate a novel, theory-based message framing intervention to accelerate HPV vaccine uptake among African American adolescents. This project aims to 1) develop culturally appropriate messages framed in gains and losses and pretest these messages through community engagement; 2) determine whether/how the effects of message framing (gain vs. loss) on African American parents’ acceptance of the HPV vaccine are moderated by their prior beliefs about HPV and the HPV vaccine; and 3) evaluate the efficacy of a message framing intervention rooted in message targeting principles through a clinic-based randomized trial. Addressing a critical aspect of health disparities disadvantaging the African American community, this research represents a systematic and timely effort to address the national urgency of optimizing communication strategies for promoting HPV vaccination among key stakeholders.

The organigram describes the overall risk management process.

Managing Chaos through Crisis Communication Leadership

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The organigram describes the overall risk management process. It is composed of 4 steps (arrows) and by sphere which represents communications with risk stakeholders.

Principal Investigator: Brooke Liu
Funding Source: the Department of Homeland Security

Summary: This project improves governments’ crisis leadership capabilities by determining the attributes of effective crisis communication leadership. The project includes: a comprehensive literature review; interviews with federal, state, local, and/or other crisis leaders regarding their experiences and reflections relevant to crisis leadership; and a mini case study of crisis communication leadership.