CHRC Hosts 2023 Research Group Mini-Conference

The CHRC hosted its 3rd mini-conference, the first in-person mini-conference since 2019 and the first in our new center space in the Marie Mount Building. Over the past year, the five research teams conduct diverse projects unified by the topic of the year. This year’s topic was COVID-19. Media & Society.

Five student-faculty research teams presented their studies:

                                   “An Unclear and Distant Danger: Cognitive Construal, Cultural Distance, and Stereotypes
as Predictors of Risk and Support”

*Nick Joyce, Umisha KC, Tong Lin, Ari Perez Montes, *Kang Namkoong, & Romy Wang
Presenter: Tong Lin

                                                 “Messaging for Future Pandemic Preparedness: Effects of Moral Framing”

*Jiyoun Kim, John Leach, Ran Ma, & Kathryn Thier
Presenter: John Leach

“Older Adults’ Perception of COVID-19 and Successful Aging:
An International Application of CEMSA”

Delight Agboada, *Lindsey Anderson, Drew Ashby-King, Miriam Komuhendo, & Faith Afua Otchere Presenter: Delight Agboada

“Coping with COVID Blue: Appraisals of Stressors, Coping Strategies, and

College Students’ Psychological Well-Being”

Emily Dawson, Saymin Lee, *Kang Namkoong, Yuan Wang, & Jiawen Zhang
Presenters: Saymin Lee & Jiawen Zhang

                                                        “Psychological Roots of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the U.S.:
A Theory-Guided Systematic Review”

Ashley Aragón, Max Erdemandi, *Xiaoli Nan, *Leah Waks, Shilin (Sophie) Xia, & Yumin Yan
Presenter: Shilin (Sophie) Xia

(Authors listed alphabetically *Faculty mentors)

The CHRC Research Group promotes research collaboration in CHRC’s core areas (health, risk, and science communication) among COMM faculty and students. CHRC holds monthly meetings where all the teams participated to share their progress and give each other suggestions. Several teams have submitted their manuscripts to conferences already and all groups will continue with preparing journal submissions over the summer.


Yuan Wang

CHRC Students and Faculty Publish Study on Americans Support for Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination

This study sets out to understand the role of cultural worldviews, risk perceptions, and trust in scientists in impacting U.S. participants’ support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Results from an online survey (“N” = 594) suggest that stronger individualistic and hierarchical worldviews are associated with more perceived COVID-19 vaccination risks, less perceived COVID-19 vaccination benefits, and lower support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Perceived benefits mediate the impact of cultural worldviews on support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination. Trust in scientists moderates the relationship between cultural worldviews and perceived benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Wang, Y., Leach, J., Kim, J., & Lee, S. (2023). Support for COVID-19 mandatory vaccination in the United States: examining the role of cultural worldviews, risk-benefit perceptions, and trust in scientists. Journal of Science Communication, 22(2), A03.

Yuan Wang

New CHRC Research About Predictors of COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Beliefs Among Unvaccinated Black Americans

Health-related misinformation is a major threat to public health and particularly worrisome for populations experiencing health disparities. This study sets out to examine the prevalence, socio-psychological predictors, and consequences of beliefs in COVID-19 vaccine misinformation among unvaccinated Black Americans. We conducted an online national survey with Black Americans who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 (N = 800) between February and March 2021. Results showed that beliefs in COVID-19 vaccine misinformation were prevalent among unvaccinated Black Americans with 13–19% of partici-pants agreeing or strongly agreeing with various false claims about COVID-19 vaccines and 35–55% unsure about the veracity of these claims. Conservative ideology, conspiracy thinking mindset, religiosity, and racial consciousness in health care settings predicted greater beliefs in COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, which were associated with lower vaccine confidence and acceptance. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Wang, Y., Thier, K., Nitri, S. O., Quinn, S. C., Abedemowo, C., & Nan, X. (2023). Beliefs in COVID-19 Vaccine misinformation among unvaccinated Black Americans: Prevalence, socio-psychological predictors, and consequences. Health Communication, 1-13.

Yuan Wang

CHRC Researchers Publish Meta-Analysis on Persuasive Effects of Temporal Framing in Health Messaging

This meta-analysis investigated the persuasive effects of temporal framing in health messaging. Our analysis included 39 message pairs from 22 studies in 20 articles (N = 4,998) that examined the effects of temporal framing (i.e. present-oriented messages vs. future-oriented messages) on attitudes, inten-tions, and behaviors in health contexts. We found that present-oriented messages were significantly more persuasive than future-oriented messages in terms of intentions and integrated persuasive outcomes. Effects of temporal framing on attitudes and behaviors were not statistically significant. We tested six moderators of temporal framing effects (gain vs. loss framing, temporal framing operationalization, behavior type, timing of effect assessment, age, CFC levels) but none of them was statistically significant. Implications for future temporal framing research are discussed.

Wang, Y., Thier, K., Lee, S., Nan, X. (2023). Persuasive effects of temporal framing in health messaging: a meta-analysis. Health Communication, 1-14.

xiaoli nan

CHRC Director and Staff Co-Author Study with Faculty Across UMD on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Black Americans

In this study we examine the role of moral values in predicting COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans. Guided by moral foundations theory, we assess the associations between six moral foundations (care, fairness, loyalty, authority, purity, liberty) and attitudes and intentions toward COVID-19 vaccination. Results of a national survey of Black Americans (N = 1,497) indicate that the care and loyalty moral foundations consistently predicted less vaccine hesitancy with overall more favorable attitudes and intentions toward COVID-19 vaccination, whereas the purity and liberty moral foundations were consistently associated with greater vaccine hesitancy. Relationships between the foundations and vaccine hesitancy were mediated by perceived vaccine effectiveness and safety. Implications of the findings for COVID-19 vaccine communication are discussed.

Nan, X., Wang, Y., Thier, K., Adebamowo, C., Quinn, S., & Ntiri, S. (2022). Moral Foundations Predict COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: Evidence from a National Survey of Black Americans. Journal of Health Communication, 1-11.


New Student Research on How News Affects Support for Climate Adaptation

News media are the public’s primary source about risks such as climate change, but traditional journalistic approaches to climate change have failed to build support for collective social responses. Solutions journalism, an emerging practice focused on credible stories about responses to societal problems, may offer an alternate approach. From an online experiment with a convenience sample of U.S. undergraduates (N = 348), we found that solutions journalism stories were positively associated with perceived behavioral control, which mediated support for collective action for climate change adaptation. Additionally, attribution of responsibility to individuals and government, participant hope, and eco-anxiety were associated with support for collective action. Findings extend our understanding of how risk communication affects policy support for climate change adaptation and suggest that solutions journalism may allow journalists to communicate climate change’s danger without depressing support for social action to mitigate its effects.

Thier, K. & Lin, T. (2022). How solutions journalism shapes support for collective climate change adaption. Environmental Communication.

xiaoli nan

CHRC Director and Assistants Publish Systematic Review of Individual Differences in Susceptibility to Health Misinformation

Health misinformation poses a significant threat to public health. Understanding why people believe health misinformation and who is at risk is crucial for developing effective interventions to reduce the harmful impact of misinformation. We conducted a systematic review of published empirical research that examined individual differences in susceptibility to health misinformation, focusing on the psychological, demographic, and behavioral correlates of health misinformation susceptibility. To guide our review on psychological correlates, we developed an integrative psychological model of susceptibility to health misinformation based on one’s ability and motivation to reason. We identified 47 publications (61 empirical studies) that met our criteria. Our review suggests that subject knowledge, literacy and numeracy, analytical thinking (vs. intuitive thinking), and trust in science confer strong resistance to health misinformation, whereas conspiracy thinking, religiosity, conservative ideology, and conservative party identification are associated with more susceptibility to health misinformation. Demographically, older age and higher educational attainment predict less susceptibility to health misinformation, whereas racial minority status is associated with greater susceptibility. Behaviorally, relying on health professionals or scientists as information sources predicts less susceptibility to health misinformation, whereas social media use is associated with greater susceptibility. Susceptibility to health misinformation is driven by multiple psychological processes. Interventions for reducing the spread and impact of health misinformation should be tailored to the psychological mechanism underlying susceptibility to health misinformation. Limited resources should be used to support interventions targeted at individuals at risk.

Nan, X., Wang, Y., & Thier, K. (2022). Why do people believe health misinformation and who is at risk? A systematic review of individual differences in susceptibility to health misinformation. Social Science & Medicine, 314, 115398.

CHRC Assistants, Director, and Affiliate Faculty Publish Research on Black Americans’ COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance

Yuan Wang

CHRC Assistants and Director Author Chapter Defining Health Misinformation

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we are entering an age of “infodemics,” with misinformation leading to mistrust in health authorities, increasing risk-taking behaviors, and undermining public health responses (WHO 2020). While concerns are rapidly growing about the prevalence and harmful impact of health misinformation (Nan, Wang, and Thier 2021), scholars have not clearly defined health misinformation or its components. Without a clear definition and shared agreement on what constitutes health misinformation, comparisons across studies purportedly about health misinformation will remain challenging, hampering our efforts to understand this phenomenon, assess its effects, and design effective interventions. However, defining misinformation in the first place is exceedingly difficult, partly because the benchmarks we often use to diagnose misinformation (e.g., scientific evidence, expert consensus) are sometimes moving targets (Vraga and Bode 2020). In light of the ongoing debate about the nature of misinformation and the urgent need for a clear definition of health misinformation, this chapter aims to critically review current definitions of health misinformation, identify key challenges in defining health misinformation, and finally propose a tentative, unifying definition of health misinformation to guide future research. We conclude by discussing directions for future efforts in refining the definition for health misinformation.

Wang, Y., Thier, K., & Nan, X. (2022). Defining health misinformation. In A. Keselman, C. A. Smith & A. Wilson (Eds.), Combating Online Health Misinformation: A Professional’s Guide to Helping the Public (pp.3-16). Rowman & Littlefield.

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.