How Emotional Appeals in Health Promotion Messages and User-generated Comments Impact COVID-19 Vaccination Intention: The Mediating Role of Psychological Reactance

Abstract: To close existing research gap and combat vaccine hesitancy among young adults, we conduct this study to integrate psychological reactance theory to better understand the effectiveness of three emerging yet understudied emotional appeals (i.e., guilt, shame, and pride) in health risk context. The current research has two goals: (1) to examine how different emotional appeals (guilt vs. shame vs. pride) and user-generated comments toward COVID-19 vaccine messages independently or interactively affect psychological reactance and (2) to understand the mediating role of psychological reactance between emotional appeals and user-generated comments and desired behavioral outcomes. An experimental study with 3 (guilt vs. shame vs. pride) by 2 (positive-valenced comments vs. negative-valenced comments) between-subjects factorial design will be conducted with college students (aged 18-24) at a large public university in the United States. Our findings strengthen the theoretical foundation on how health risk messages with user-generated comments interactively can predict undesired health outcomes. Our study also helps health organizations design more effective messages targeting at young adults by lowering psychological reactance and enhancing persuasive power in motivating COVID-19 vaccination.


Using Influenza Vaccination Location Data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to Expand COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage

Victoria Fonzi, Kiran Thapa, Kishor Luitel, Heather Padilla, Curt Harris, M. Mahmud Khan, Glen Nowak and Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, Using Influenza Vaccination Location Data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to Expand COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage

Abstract: Effective COVID-19 vaccine distribution requires prioritizing locations that are accessible to high-risk target populations. However, little is known about the vaccination location preferences of individuals with underlying chronic conditions. Using data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), we grouped 162,744 respondents into high-risk and low-risk groups for COVID-19 and analyzed the odds of previous influenza vaccination at doctor’s offices, health departments, community settings, stores, or hospitals. Individuals at high risk for severe COVID-19 were more likely to be vaccinated in doctor’s offices and stores and less likely to be vaccinated in community settings. 

Hollywood Shutdown: Production, Distribution, and Exhibition in the Time of Covid

Abstract: Hollywood Shutdown examines how the COVID-19 pandemic affected film and television production, influenced trends in distribution, reshaped theatrical exhibition, and altered labor practices. From January movie theater closures in China to the bumpy September release of Mulan on the Disney+ streaming platform, Fortmueller probes various choices made by studios, networks, unions and guilds, distributors, and exhibitors during the evolving crisis. In seeking to explain what happened in the first nine months of 2020, this book also considers how the pandemic will transform Hollywood practices in the twenty-first century. 

Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Among Vaccine Hesitant Parents Using Psychological Inoculation

Nathaniel Evans has been awarded OIBR seed funding ($5020) through the Grantsmanship Development Program (GDP) for his proposed project titled, “Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Among Vaccine Hesitant Parents Using Psychological Inoculation.”

Abract: The objective of the proposed research is to augment vaccine acceptance and coverage by developing and testing intervention strategies that inoculate vaccine hesitant parents against COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Psychological inoculation (McGuire and Papageorgis, 1961) is analogous to biomedical inoculation, wherein individuals exposed to misinformation weakened by logical fallacies develop “cognitive antibodies” so that they are equipped to defend against future misinformation (van der Linden et al. 2021). Traditional debunking or “supportive” messaging techniques show limited effectiveness in health contexts because they require individuals to develop their own counterarguments against information, whereas psychological inoculation provides individuals with heuristic counterarguments used to fight questionable or potentially deceptive (mis)information (Maertens et al. 2020). Emerging research using inoculation interventions suggest promise for eliciting resistance to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories (Jolley and Douglas 2017) and offers protection to those already exposed to misinformation (Cook et al., 2017; van der Linden et al., 2017). Psychological inoculation transcends the limited effectiveness of existing debunking messaging techniques in a variety of health contexts. Inoculation interventions have untaped potential for changing undesirable vaccine-related attitudes and behaviors and offer protection from future vaccine misinformation. Overall, we believe the successful development and implementation of inoculation interventions is paramount in providing vaccine hesitant individuals the defenses needed to fight current and unforeseen COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and will ultimately increase coverage rates.

Infectious Disease Risk (IDR) Perception and Prospective Tourists’ Travel Intention to a Mega-sport Event Host Country: The Mediating Role of Risk Information Seeking

Abstract: While risk perception has been the subject of many sport tourism studies, much remains to be linked with risk information seeking, travel-related response, and behavior in the sport tourism contexts. Previous studies lacked evidence-based literature to examine the effect of risk perception on travel decisions in the case of risks associated with infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Analyzing data from an online survey of American and South Korean adults (N = 537) who had a willingness to international travel, this study expands the scope of the study in risk information of prospective tourists by explaining how IDR perception among prospective tourists through the media leads to travel intentions to a host region. Among the key findings, prospective tourists who perceived COVID-19 as highly risky tend to feel less safe traveling to a host region. Our findings also revealed a positive relationship between information seeking and risk perception. This study sheds light on the importance of understanding the role of IDR perception in risk information management for a mega-sport event host country by providing the most up-to-date real-world pandemic case, which has critically impacted the global sport tourism and risk management fields.

Tracing the Caring Relationships Found Within Three Virus Outbreaks: A Public Health Communications Perspective

Abstract: The world is subject to many an affliction and pandemic, as seen most recently with COVID-19. This study, in an attempt to better understand the trends and workings of the past, conducted deep-dive narrative and trend analyses of three prominent virus afflictions: the 1918 Flu, Polio, and HIV/AIDs. Through the lens of public health communicators and public relations practitioners, the communications about each virus are explored and later analyzed through a lens of Nel Noddings’ ethic of care–examining the supposed cultivation of caring relationships developed between those communicating (or not communicating) and those who desperately need the message (the cared-for).

Taylor Voges (Grady PhD Student), LaShonda Eaddy (Grady PhD Alum), Shelley Spector, and Yan Jin.

How Shades of Truth and Age Affect Responses to COVID-19 (Mis)information: Randomized Survey Experiment among WhatsApp Users in UK and Brazil

Abstract: We examined how age and exposure to different types of COVID-19 (mis)information affect misinformation beliefs, perceived credibility of the message and intention-to-share it on WhatsApp. Through two mixed-design online experiments in the UK and Brazil (total N = 1,454) we first randomly exposed adult WhatsApp users to full misinformation, partial misinformation, or full truth about the therapeutic powers of garlic to cure COVID-19. We then exposed all participants to corrective information from the World Health Organization debunking this claim. We found stronger misinformation beliefs among younger adults (18-54) in both UK and Brazil and possible backfire effects of corrective information among older adults (55+) in the UK. Corrective information from the WHO was effective in enhancing perceived credibility and intention-to-share of accurate information across all groups in both countries. Our findings call for evidence-based infodemic interventions by health agencies, with greater engagement of younger adults in pandemic misinformation management efforts.