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.

A Man Is Using A Smartphone

Social Support and Social Media

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A man is using a smartphone with social media network notification icons in the city

Lead Researcher: Yuan Wang

Summary: This project explores how people obtain social support from social media usage, and how the process affects their subjective well-being.

Hand holding smartphone with fitness app concept on touchscreen. Modern flat vector icons of healthy lifestyle fitness and physical activity. Healthy lifestyle concept.

A Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of Mobile Devices to Promote Physical Activity

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Hand holding smartphone with fitness app concept on touchscreen. Modern flat vector icons of healthy lifestyle fitness and physical activity. Healthy lifestyle concept.

Lead Researcher: Yan Qin

Summary: This project involves systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the effectiveness of mobile devices to promote physical activity. Moderators such as use of behavioral change theories/techniques and targeted audience groups are also investigated in the study.

Sexual Health Diseases Women Awareness Concept

Sexual Health Content on College Student Health Websites

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Sexual Health Diseases Women Awareness Concept, a laptop showing “sexual health,” with glasses, a cup of tea and dessert aside

Lead Researcher: Samantha Stanley

Summary: This content analysis examines the prevalence of sexual health information on college student health websites.

Girl Power Equality Feminist Women's Right Concept

A Construal Level Perspective on Sex Positivity and Self/Other Appeals.

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Girl Power Equality Feminist Women’s Right Concept, five girls from different ethnic groups standing together, laying their hands on top of each other

Lead Researcher: Samantha Stanley

Summary: This project tests messages that vary in the extent to which they are sex positive and appeal to the health of oneself or one’s sexual partner.

Social Media World Wide

Social Media, Culture, and Health

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Social Media World Wide, young people from around the world using social media through various devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops

1. Principal Investigator: Yumin Yan

Funding Source: J. William and Mary Diederich, College of Communication, Marquette University, WI.

Summary: This project aims to explore Chinese international students’ social media (Facebook and WeChat) usage and how it influences their process of intercultural adaptation.

2. Lead Researcher: Yumin Yan

Summary: This project investigates the effects of Instagram usage and celebrity worship on college females’ body image satisfaction, social comparison behaviors, and eating disorders.

Global warming infographic shows key metrics that are effecting global climate change and becoming a high risk alert for the life on the Earth

An Examination of the Heartland Institute’s “Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming.”

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Global warming infographic shows key metrics that are effecting global climate change and becoming a high risk alert for the life on the Earth

Lead Researcher: Gareth Thomas Williams

Summary: This project aims to exam the Heartland Institute’s “Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming.” It is part of a broader analysis of the means of persuasion employed by government and nonprofit organizations and NGOs, and their use and/or manipulation of science to suit policy advocacy. A previous phase of this study included the broadcast of climate data by the Badlands National Park Twitter account on Inauguration Day 2017. This action ultimately spurred the current alt/rogue government galaxy of social media, numbering more than 35 as of July 2018.

Green plastic bottle of mineral and organic fertilizer

A Multipart Analysis of Outreach Communications

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Green plastic bottle of mineral and organic fertilizer

Lead Researcher: Gareth Thomas Williams

Summary: This project is a multi-part analysis of outreach communications by agricultural chemical manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture following the 1962 release of “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. The study includes rhetorical analysis of communications by the companies and examination of multimedia information and disinformation campaigns seeking to undermine Carson’s work. This work follows on a rhetorical analysis of Ms. Carson’s speeches in 1963 that rebut the industry and governmental challenges to her work. Future work will likely address the presidential commission launched in response to “Silent Spring,” which ultimately found the assertions in the book credible and warranting immediate intervention.

Food containing too much sugar. Sugar in diet causes obesity, diabetes and other health problems

Stigma Related Research

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Food containing too much sugar, e.g., sweets, donuts, and cookies. Sugar in diet causes obesity, diabetes and other health problems

Lead Researcher: Victoria Ann Ledford

1. Summary: This project aims to better understand how individuals with weight stigma construct their self-stigma beliefs and attitudes. The goal of this project is to develop a theoretically grounded measure for weight-related self-stigma.

2. Summary: This project aims to construct a model of self-stigma communication that provides predictable pathways for researchers who investigate how self-stigma affects health-related behavioral intentions. The first iteration of this project will be presented at NCA 2018.