Health and crisis communication practice must be informed by our understanding of human behavior and psychology, media effects, interpersonal and cultural communication, and the process for diffusion of stigmatizing and harmful norms.
Stigma related to COVID-19 is associated with some individuals’ lack of knowledge about how the virus spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and interpersonal behaviors that spread or amplify rumors.
While fear has been shown to motivate individuals to take action to reduce their apprehension about health issues, during crises, fear can have a countereffect on adherence to community-level mitigation efforts.
Explain the linkages between health information-seeking behavior during crises, media effects, and interpersonal communication
Public health surveillance activities and epidemiological research routinely track, identify, and describe patterns of disease and risk factors in populations, the population characteristics typically available in these data are limited (e.g. age, race, sex, geographic boundaries) and provide crude proxy for culture and other shared values, beliefs, experiences and living conditions of a group.
Health communication practitioners rely on these data to understand audience segments highest at risk for disease and illness. Lack of cultural specificity in data can present a secondary challenge as targeted communication may default to single, rarely multifaceted, approaches to reach all members of a given population. These limitations are rapidly magnified during public health crises.
Until the lions have their own historians; tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter- west African proverb