Faculty, Graduate Students, and Doctoral Program Alum Publish Chapters in the Updated Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

CHRC faculty and graduate students, and a Maryland alum have co-authored two chapters in the revised Routledge Handbook of Health Communication (3rd edition). Professor Xiaoli Nan and doctoral candidates Yuan Wang and Kathryn Thier co-authored “Health Misinformation.” Assistant Professor Sarah A. Aghazadeh, a graduate of the doctoral program in communication and now at Auburn University, and Professor Dr. Linda Aldoory co-authored “Inroads into Healthy Decision Making: The Role of Health Literacy in Health Communication.” Details below.

Nan, X., Wang, Y., & Thier, K. (2021). Health misinformation. In T. Thompson & N. Harrington (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication (3rd edition). Routledge.

Research on health misinformation has grown rapidly as concerns about the potential harmful effects of health misinformation on individuals and society intensify amid a “post-truth” era. In this chapter, we provide a broad overview of current research and evidence concerning the many facets of health misinformation, including its sources, prevalence, characteristics (both content and diffusion features), impact, and mitigation. We conclude that health misinformation originates from many sources, most notably mass and social media; is fairly prevalent, both in interpersonal and mediated settings; and tends to feature negative sentiments, anecdotal evidence, and anti-science narratives. Although there is no conclusive evidence that health misinformation spreads more broadly than scientific information, health misinformation reliably leads to misperceptions on health issues. Efforts to mitigate the impact of health misinformation show early promise in correcting misperceptions. We offer several directions for future research.


Aghazadeh, S. A. & Aldoory, L. (2021). Inroads into healthy decision making: The role of health literacy in health communication. In T. Thompson & N. Harrington (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication (3rdedition). Routledge.

Health literacy, commonly defined as the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand health information, serves as an important determinant of healthy decisions and is central to the work of health communication researchers and practitioners. This chapter outlines the state of the field of health literacy: its definitions, models, measurements, and central debates at the intersection of health communication, medicine, and public health. The chapter includes an example of an applied intervention where a health literacy campaign was implemented in a community. It considers future research directions to position health communication scholars at the front lines of health literacy research, with the hopes of encouraging scholarship that inspires social change, community approaches, and attention to digital media contexts.