Factors Influencing Americans’ Preventive Behaviours during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Strategic Health and Risk Communicators

Sung In Choi (PhD student), Yan Jin, and Mark Badham. (forthcoming). “Factors Influencing Americans’ Preventive Behaviours during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Strategic Health and Risk Communicators.” Strategic Communication in a Global Crisis: National and International Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Eds. R. Tench, J. Meng, and A. Moreno-Fernández), Routledge.

Abstract: This chapter examines factors influencing Americans’ preventive behaviours, including their COVID-19 vaccination intentions, in response to the U.S. Government’s strategic communication about COVID-19 guidelines. This chapter draws on the theory of planned behaviour to shed light on three factors that can help strategic health and risk communicators predict future behaviours during a pandemic: attitude toward a recommended vaccine, social norms (i.e., the likelihood that individuals will follow others’ opinions about recommended behaviour), and self-efficacy (i.e., individuals’ confidence in their own ability to follow recommended behaviour). Based on an online survey of American adults in October-November 2020, the study found, first, that a relatively high proportion of Americans were adopting government-recommended behaviours to prevent infection and spread of the virus. Second, Americans who follow the government’s recommended behaviours tend to have higher vaccination intentions. Third, younger Americans are more likely to be influenced by social norms to adopt recommended behaviours. Fourth, younger Americans have higher levels of self-efficacy than older Americans. Finally, Americans with higher education levels tend to have higher self-efficacy to follow recommended actions, thus leading to higher levels of preventive behaviours. These findings have important implications for strategic health and risk communicators, particularly when attempting to persuade the public to follow government health recommendations during a public health crisis.

Picture it, U.S. 2020…’: The Golden Girls and sitcom nostalgia during the pandemic

Kate Fortmueller. “‘Picture it, U.S. 2020…’: The Golden Girls and sitcom nostalgia during the pandemic,” in The Golden Age of Television: The Golden Girls Reader. Edited by Taylor Cole Miller and Alfred Martin. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Abstract: In 2020 the coronavirus swept across the world, shutting down scripted media production and thwarted streaming premiers. With many shows postponed or on unplanned hiatus, and audiences clamoring for lockdown content, streamers began licensing more programming. During the pandemic vintage network sitcoms found renewed popularity with streaming audiences. This chapter considers the importance of nostalgia to contextualize the industrial and cultural significance of The Golden Girls in the streaming era and during the Covid pandemic.

Who Cares about Media Industry COVID policies?

Kate Fortmueller. “Who Cares about Media Industry COVID policies?” In Media Industries in Crisis: What COVID Unmasked. Edited by Vicki Mayer, Miranda Banks, and Noa Lavie. New York: Routledge.

Abstract: During the initial U.S. COVID surge of March 2020, media industry trade papers worldwide provided a corresponding wave of updates about production shutdowns as Hollywood industry stakeholders from rank-and-file union members to executives looked on in bewilderment, wondering: what next? This chapter focuses on how the development of new on-set COVID protocols impacted individuals and industries beyond the usual industry stakeholders and their content-loving fans. This chapter contextualizes the friction between traditional industry stakeholders and emerging ancillary businesses amid the media industry’s policy adjustments and adaptations to the COVID-era. This chapter assesses the ancillary business reaction to Hollywood’s developing on-set safety regime and considers how the COVID actions might inform future responses to industry-wide crises.