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 you are here › HomeFunding OpportunitiesPandemic FluProject Portfolio

Last updated: 28 July 2009 - Next update due: 4 August 2009

Research type: Primary Research
Project title: Public responses to swine flu communications: a longitudinal analysis
Project Report

Report now available.
View the executive summary (pdf format)
You can view the full text from the H1N1 influenza and pandemic flu themed issue 1 publication details page on the HTA website

Project ref: 09/84/98
Cost: £55,732
Chief Investigator : Professor Susan Michie, University College London
Start Date: October 2009 
Plain English Summary

Public responses to swine flu communications

This project will analyse a survey of public attitudes and behaviour in relation to swine flu that is being conducted by the Department of Health on a weekly basis. It will investigate how people’s attitudes and emotions are related to the behaviours that can protect themselves and others in the current pandemic. It will also assess the impact of Department of Health messages (e.g. by leaflet, television advert, poster) and the impact of stories in the media (e.g. newspapers, television and online).

The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 1000 members of the general public to monitor changes in awareness of swine flu communications, trust in information sources, perceptions of swine flu (e.g. severity, controllability), worry about swine flu, perceived efficacy of a variety of behaviours (e.g. hand washing, avoiding travel, telephoning Swine Flu Information). Media coverage will be monitored on a daily basis, both by the Department of Health press office and by a company specialising in electronic monitoring of newspapers and websites, both national and local.

The survey results from May 1st, when it started, until January 2009 will be analysed statistically to look at how a variety of communication events influence attitudes, worry and reported behaviours that are relevant to preventing and managing swine flu. The results will be regularly reported to the Department of Health to inform their communication strategy. The survey has already been approved from an ethical standpoint.

This research will be shaped, supported and informed by the Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Behaviour and Communication Sub-Group. The SPI sub-group is represented on the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, and is working closely with the Department of Health's Communications Directorate who manage the public attitudes tracking survey. The academic partners will be Professor Susan Michie, director of UCL's Health Psychology Unit, and Dr Henry Potts of the Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education. Prof. Michie is the Chair of the Behaviour and Communication Sub-Group and an expert in understanding health-related behaviours. Dr Potts is a health informaticist and statistician, experienced in analyses for a health psychology context.

Project Abstract:

This project will analyse a survey of public attitudes and behaviour in relation to swine flu that is being conducted by the Department of Health on a weekly basis. It will investigate how people’s attitudes and emotions are related to the behaviours that can protect themselves and others in the current pandemic. It will also assess the impact of Department of Health messages (e.g. by leaflet, television advert, poster) and the impact of stories in the media (e.g.newspapers, television and online). 

The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 1000 members of the general public to monitor changes in awareness of swine flu communications, trust in information sources, perceptions of swine flu (e.g. severity, controllability), worry about swine flu, perceived efficacy of a variety of behaviours (e.g. hand washing, avoiding travel, telephoning Swine Flu Information).

Media coverage will be monitored on a daily basis, both by the Department of Health press office and by a company specialising in electronic monitoring of newspapers and websites, both national and local. The survey results from May 1st, when it started, until January 2009 will be analysed statistically to look at how a variety of communication events influence attitudes, worry and reported behaviours that are relevant to preventing and managing swine flu. 

The results will be regularly reported to the Department of Health to inform their communication strategy. The survey has already been approved from an ethical standpoint.

Project Protocol: Project protocol not available

 

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