Exploring the effectiveness of media in communicating public health messages to people with learning disabilities during the pandemic

Stephen J. Macdonald*, Alison Wilde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The article aims to explore mass and social media’s role in communicating public health messages in Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article presents findings from a realist mixed methods study analysing data collected from 137 participants who have a learning disability and/or autism. Our study discovered that participants reported that social media only led to confusion because of contradictory messages being presented on COVID-19. Although people with learning disabilities and/or autism preferred gaining information from TV news, they also reported that this information was often confusing and inaccessible. Participants drew on family members, and social care professionals, to explain and help them negotiate the complexities of public health messages during the global pandemic. The study concludes by suggesting the need for accessible information and health communications to effectively contend with any future global pandemic or health emergency to reduce the health risks for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalDisability and Society
Early online date2 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion keywords

  • Disability Equality

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