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Special Issue "Advances in Communication and Public Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication and Informatics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Daniel Catalan-Matamoros
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication Studies, University Carlos III of Madrid, 28903 Madrid, Spain
Interests: health communication; risk communication; public health; risk perception; healthcare technology assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrea Langbecker
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Federal University of Bahia, 40170-110 Salvador, Brazil
Interests: Public Health; Journalism; Communication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite great improvements in public health worldwide during the last decades, much still remains to be done in terms of making our society healthier. As different people have different health needs, we have to prepare and adapt health interventions accordingly, taking into consideration that many aspects of health are intertwined in multifaceted social spheres. Hence, communication has become a key protagonist in public health; therefore, the purpose of this Special Issue is to stimulate the field of public health communication, and to eventually add value in our everyday understanding of health and healthcare.

This Special Issue offers an opportunity to publish high-quality interdisciplinary research and reviews that report on the wide range of topics related to public health and communication. We welcome manuscripts specifically focusing on public health policy/advocacy, health promotion, health beliefs, patient satisfaction, perceptions of health, provider–patient relationships, health risk messages, communication networks within health organizations, social media, health literacy and numeracy, health education, health information, health journalism, fake news, media representations of health, social media, eHealth, and tele-health, as well as crisis/outbreak communication, risk communication, and public understanding of science.

Dr. Daniel Catalan-Matamoros
Dr. Andrea Langbecker
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • Mass media
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Campaigns
  • Social media
  • Mobile Health
  • Social and behavior change communication
  • Social marketing
  • Journalism
  • eHealth

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Article
Effect of High-Intensity Interval Training and Intermittent Fasting on Body Composition and Physical Performance in Active Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6431; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18126431 - 14 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Nutritional strategies may have an effect on body composition and physical performance. Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting in specified time periods. Moreover, it is a common strategy among members of the athlete population [...] Read more.
Nutritional strategies may have an effect on body composition and physical performance. Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting in specified time periods. Moreover, it is a common strategy among members of the athlete population that are looking for weight loss. However, this strategy may negatively affect physical performance, as compared to other weight loss strategies. The main purpose of this research was to use a cross-over design to study the effects of HIIT, with or without intermittent fasting, on muscular and anaerobic performance in 14 active women (27 ± 6 y). To assess performance, body composition (anthropometry), hand-grip strength, and counter-movement jump (CMJ) height was measured, and a 30 s Wingate test was completed assessed. HIIT + IF reduced fat mass (1 kg, p < 0.05, d = 1.1; 1.5%, p < 0.01, d = 1.0) and increased CMJ height (6.2 cm, p < 0.001, d = 1.8). In addition, the change in CMJ height in HIIT + IF was higher over HIIT (5.2 cm, p < 0.001, d = 1.9). In conclusion, intermittent fasting could be a nutritional strategy to decrease fat mass and increase jumping performance. However, longer duration programs would be necessary to determine whether other parameters of muscle performance could be positively affected by IF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Article
Who Guides Vaccination in the Portuguese Press? An Analysis of Information Sources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2189; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18042189 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Sources of information are a key part of the news process as it guides certain topics, influencing the media agenda. The goal of this study is to examine the most frequent voices on vaccines in the Portuguese press. A total of 300 news [...] Read more.
Sources of information are a key part of the news process as it guides certain topics, influencing the media agenda. The goal of this study is to examine the most frequent voices on vaccines in the Portuguese press. A total of 300 news items were analysed via content analysis using as sources two newspapers from 2012 to 2017. Of all the articles, 97.7% included a source (n = 670). The most frequent were “governmental organisations”, “professional associations” and the “media”. Less frequent sources were “university scientists”, “governmental scientific bodies”, “consumer groups”, “doctors”, “scientific companies”, “NGOs” and “scientific journals”. Most articles used only non-scientific sources (n = 156). A total of 94 articles used both categories and 43 used exclusively scientific sources. Our findings support the assertion that media can be an instrument to disseminate information on vaccines. Nevertheless, despite being present in most articles, the number of sources per article was low, therefore not presenting a diversity of opinions and there was a lack of scientific voices, thus suggesting lower quality of the information being offered to the audience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Article
Fake News and Covid-19 in Italy: Results of a Quantitative Observational Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5850; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17165850 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5550
Abstract
During the Covid-19 pandemic, risk communication has often been ineffective, and from this perspective “fake news” has found fertile ground, both as a cause and a consequence of it. The aim of this study is to measure how much “fake news” and corresponding [...] Read more.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, risk communication has often been ineffective, and from this perspective “fake news” has found fertile ground, both as a cause and a consequence of it. The aim of this study is to measure how much “fake news” and corresponding verified news have circulated in Italy in the period between 31 December 2019 and 30 April 2020, and to estimate the quality of informal and formal communication. We used the BuzzSumo application to gather the most shared links on the Internet related to the pandemic in Italy, using keywords chosen according to the most frequent “fake news” during that period. For each research we noted the numbers of “fake news” articles and science-based news articles, as well as the number of engagements. We reviewed 2102 articles. Links that contained fake news were shared 2,352,585 times, accounting for 23.1% of the total shares of all the articles reviewed. Our study throws light on the “fake news” phenomenon in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. A quantitative assessment is fundamental in order to understand the impact of false information and to define political and technical interventions in health communication. Starting from this evaluation, health literacy should be improved by means of specific interventions in order to improve informal and formal communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Article
Analyzing Spanish News Frames on Twitter during COVID-19—A Network Study of El País and El Mundo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5414; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155414 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1910
Abstract
While COVID-19 is becoming one of the most severe public health crises in the twenty-first century, media coverage about this pandemic is getting more important than ever to make people informed. Drawing on data scraped from Twitter, this study aims to analyze and [...] Read more.
While COVID-19 is becoming one of the most severe public health crises in the twenty-first century, media coverage about this pandemic is getting more important than ever to make people informed. Drawing on data scraped from Twitter, this study aims to analyze and compare the news updates of two main Spanish newspapers El País and El Mundo during the pandemic. Throughout an automatic process of topic modeling and network analysis methods, this study identifies eight news frames for each newspaper’s Twitter account. Furthermore, the whole pandemic development process is split into three periods—the pre-crisis period, the lockdown period and the recovery period. The networks of the computed frames are visualized by these three segments. This paper contributes to the understanding of how Spanish news media cover public health crises on social media platforms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Article
Consensus on Criteria for Good Practices in Video Consultation: A Delphi Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5396; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155396 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
The use of telemedicine has greatly increased, largely derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created the need for a guide aimed towards the adequate management of a modality of health care: the video consultation. A Delphi study composed of three rounds was [...] Read more.
The use of telemedicine has greatly increased, largely derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created the need for a guide aimed towards the adequate management of a modality of health care: the video consultation. A Delphi study composed of three rounds was conducted with 16 experts in holding video consultations and managing non-technical skills from different specialties and nationalities to conceive a consensus on the criteria needed for properly managing video consultations by healthcare professionals. The consensus criteria were defined by three dimensions (preparation of video consultation, video consultation process, and post-video consultation) and their corresponding items. Excellent consensus data was obtained; therefore, use is recommended by any healthcare professional who is going to utilize a video consultation, in order to manage it effectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
Article
Communication Skills, Problem-Solving Ability, Understanding of Patients’ Conditions, and Nurse’s Perception of Professionalism among Clinical Nurses: A Structural Equation Model Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4896; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17134896 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
This study was intended to confirm the structural relationship between clinical nurse communication skills, problem-solving ability, understanding of patients’ conditions, and nurse’s perception of professionalism. Due to changes in the healthcare environment, it is becoming difficult to meet the needs of patients, and [...] Read more.
This study was intended to confirm the structural relationship between clinical nurse communication skills, problem-solving ability, understanding of patients’ conditions, and nurse’s perception of professionalism. Due to changes in the healthcare environment, it is becoming difficult to meet the needs of patients, and it is becoming very important to improve the ability to perform professional nursing jobs to meet expectations. In this study method, structural model analysis was applied to identify factors influencing the perception of professionalism in nurses. The subjects of this study were 171 nurses working at general hospitals in city of Se, Ga, and Geu. Data analysis included frequency analysis, identification factor analysis, reliability analysis, measurement model analysis, model fit, and intervention effects. In the results of the study, nurse’s perception of professionalism was influenced by factors of communication skills and understanding of the patient’s condition, but not by their ability to solve problems. Understanding of patient’s condition had a mediating effect on communication skills and nursing awareness. Communication skills and understanding of the patient’s condition greatly influenced the nurse’s perception of professionalism. To improve the professionalism of clinical nurses, nursing managers need to emphasize communication skills and understanding of the patient’s condition. The purpose of this study was to provide a rationale for developing a program to improve job skills by strengthening the awareness of professional positions of clinical nurses to develop nursing quality of community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Article
Helping Mothers and Daughters Talk about Environmental Breast Cancer Risk and Risk-Reducing Lifestyle Behaviors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4757; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17134757 - 02 Jul 2020
Viewed by 728
Abstract
Background: Mothers and daughters struggle to talk about breast cancer risk. Even less attention is paid to environmental determinants of cancer. Third-party online approaches can be helpful navigating these conversations. The aim of this study was to obtain feedback from mothers exposed [...] Read more.
Background: Mothers and daughters struggle to talk about breast cancer risk. Even less attention is paid to environmental determinants of cancer. Third-party online approaches can be helpful navigating these conversations. The aim of this study was to obtain feedback from mothers exposed to a social media intervention (“mommy bloggers”) and identify their preferences for message-design approaches that could help them talk to their daughter(s) about environmental breast cancer risk. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 50 mothers. A thematic analysis was conducted using the constant comparative method. Results: Mothers identified four approaches to message design that could help facilitate mother–daughter communication about environmental breast cancer risk. These included two action-oriented approaches that centered on getting the conversation started and keeping the conversation going and two approaches based on lifespan factors to promote daughters’ engagement by using age-appropriate language and visuals and focusing on developmentally specific lifestyle behaviors. Mothers also provided recommended strategies within each approach. Conclusions: Mothers identified various approaches interventionists can utilize to overcome barriers to talking to daughters about environmental breast cancer risk. To promote mother–daughter communication, the messages should be action-oriented to facilitate interaction, but also developed with lifespan and developmental considerations in mind to engage daughters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Article
Migrant Caregivers of Older People in Spain: Qualitative Insights into Relatives’ Experiences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2953; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17082953 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 951
Abstract
The traditional structure of families is undergoing profound changes, causing the so-called “crisis of family care.” This study describes the experiences and emotions of the family member who hires migrant caregivers for the older people. This is a qualitative study using a phenomenological [...] Read more.
The traditional structure of families is undergoing profound changes, causing the so-called “crisis of family care.” This study describes the experiences and emotions of the family member who hires migrant caregivers for the older people. This is a qualitative study using a phenomenological design with nine women participants between 53 and 72 years of age. The data collection was carried out through two in-depth interviews and a focus group. There were three major topics: (1) the women in this study recognized that they were not able to take care of the family member directly, due to their responsibilities as female workers and mothers. The fact that migrant caregivers were chosen was conjunctural, where economic reasons were more important. (2) The family members supported the caregivers by teaching them about care and also resolving conflicts produced by culture shock. (3) Trusting the caregiver was a gradual process; the family members felt a complex set of emotions (insecurity, gratitude for the help, moral obligation). In conclusion, they wanted a caregiver who would provide the elder dependent with the love and compassion that they, as daughters, would provide if they had time to do so. The family became the caregiver’s managers and assumed the responsibility of training and helping them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
Article
Health-Literate Healthcare Organizations and Quality of Care in Hospitals: A Cross-Sectional Study Conducted in Tuscany
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2508; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072508 - 06 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1151
Abstract
The concept of Health-Literate Healthcare Organization (HLHO) concerns the strategies by which healthcare organizations make it easier for people to navigate, understand, and use information and services to take care of their health. The aims of this study were to validate the HLHO-10 [...] Read more.
The concept of Health-Literate Healthcare Organization (HLHO) concerns the strategies by which healthcare organizations make it easier for people to navigate, understand, and use information and services to take care of their health. The aims of this study were to validate the HLHO-10 questionnaire in the Italian language; to measure the degree of implementation of the 10 attributes of HLHOs in a sample of hospitals placed in Tuscany; and to assess the association between the degree of implementation of the 10 attributes of HLHOs and the perceived quality of care. This was a cross-sectional study where data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire including three sections: a descriptive section, a section focused on the perceived quality, and the Italian version of the HLHO-10 questionnaire. A total amount of 405 healthcare managers answered the questionnaire (54.9%). The analysis shows that the HLHO score is significantly associated with the type of hospitals: accredited private hospitals have higher HLHO scores. Moreover, the perceived quality increases with the increasing of the HLHO score, with the highest coefficient for local public hospitals. In conclusion, Organizational Health Literacy culture should be an integral element for the management to improve the quality of care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
Article
A Contagious Other? Exploring the Public’s Appraisals of Contact with ‘Mental Illness’
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2005; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17062005 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
Mental illness has recurrently been found to be Othered by the lay public, although few researchers have examined the affective and implicit processes involved. To explore this, we triangulated facial electromyography (EMG), self-reports, and individual interview data, finding participants to Other mental illness, [...] Read more.
Mental illness has recurrently been found to be Othered by the lay public, although few researchers have examined the affective and implicit processes involved. To explore this, we triangulated facial electromyography (EMG), self-reports, and individual interview data, finding participants to Other mental illness, a process that involved disgust, fear and pity. Furthermore, mental illness was considered to have the potential to permeate, posing a contagious threat. This research highlights the need to fully explore the forms of understanding, which maintain mental-health related stigma, including beliefs about contamination, and the implications this may have for the design of anti-stigma campaigns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
Article
Effectiveness and Safety in Remote Monitoring of Patients with Pacemakers Five Years after an Implant: The Poniente Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1431; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041431 - 23 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1146
Abstract
Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and functional capacity values immediately after pacemaker (PM) implantation have been well established; however, not much has been known about its long-term effects. The present study compared the long-term effectiveness and safety of remote monitoring plus a clinic [...] Read more.
Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and functional capacity values immediately after pacemaker (PM) implantation have been well established; however, not much has been known about its long-term effects. The present study compared the long-term effectiveness and safety of remote monitoring plus a clinic visit versus clinic visits alone during follow-up of adults implanted with PMs. This study was a single-centre, controlled, non-randomised, non-blinded clinical trial. Data were collected pre-implantation and after 60 months. The patients in the PONIENTE study were assigned to two different groups: remote monitoring (RM) and conventional monitoring (CM). The EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) questionnaire was used to assess HRQoL and Duke Activity Status Index was used for the functional capacity. After five years, 55 patients completed the study (RM = 21; CM = 34). EuroQol-5D and functional capacity values were improved; however, significant differences were observed only in the EQ5D visual analogue scale (p < 0.001). Remote monitoring was equally feasible, reliable, safe, and clinically useful as CM. The frequencies of rehospitalisations and emergency visits did not differ between the groups. RM was found to be safe and effective in early detection and treatment of medical- and device-related events and in reducing hospital visits. Improved HRQoL was described not only immediately after PM implantation but also extended over a long time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Review

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Review
Overview of Facebook Use by Hospitals in Italy: A Nationwide Survey during the COVID-19 Emergency
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7225; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147225 - 06 Jul 2021
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Background: Facebook is the most popular social network across the world and also allows users access to health information. Our study presents an overview of the official Facebook profiles of hospitals in Italy (n = 1351) and how much they are [...] Read more.
Background: Facebook is the most popular social network across the world and also allows users access to health information. Our study presents an overview of the official Facebook profiles of hospitals in Italy (n = 1351) and how much they are used. Methods: All hospitals were surveyed on the number of Facebook posts in May (post-lockdown) and October (second pandemic wave) 2020. The number of followers, the creation date of the official page, and the frequency of publication—that is, the average number of days between two subsequent posts—were determined. Results: In Italy, only 28% (n = 379) of the hospitals had official Facebook pages, of which 20.6% (n = 78) were public hospitals, and 79.4% (n = 301) were private hospitals. Of the hospitals with Facebook pages, 49.1% used them every week, and public hospitals published more often. Conclusions: Despite the differences between regions and types of management, the number of hospitals in Italy that use Facebook as a tool for the public dissemination of health information is still low. Hospitals should adopt an effective communication strategy using social networks to improve the quality of health care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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Review
Educational Interventions for Nursing Students to Develop Communication Skills with Patients: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2241; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072241 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2589
Abstract
Introduction: Nursing students establish therapeutic relationships with their patients and as future nursing professionals, they should be trained to be effective communicators. The objective of this systematic review was to know the impact of educational interventions on nursing students to develop their communication [...] Read more.
Introduction: Nursing students establish therapeutic relationships with their patients and as future nursing professionals, they should be trained to be effective communicators. The objective of this systematic review was to know the impact of educational interventions on nursing students to develop their communication skills with patients. Methods: A systematic review of literature was carried out. The following databases were consulted: CINAHL, PubMed (Ovid Medline), SCOPUS and Web of Science. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guided this review. As for inclusion criteria, published articles in English from 2000 to 2020 were included. The methodological rigor of the included articles was evaluated with the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Randomized Controlled Trial or Quasi-Experimental Studies. Changes in communication skills with the patient after the implementation of an intervention were analyzed. Results: Of the included studies in this systematic review (N = 19), two studies were randomized controlled trials, others were single group quasi-experimental studies (N = 11) and two group quasi-experimental studies (n = 6). The majority of the studies were carried out in the USA (n = 7). The most frequent educational intervention was simulation (n = 11). As for the improvement of communication skills, 13 of the 19 articles found statistically significant differences in patient-centered communication skills of nursing students. Conclusions: This systematic review provides preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of interventions used to train nursing students in patient-centered communication. Although all the interventions obtained significant results in communication skills, it has not yet been determined which methodology is more effective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Communication and Public Health)
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