The COVID- 19 pandemic has required that individuals begin and maintain a series of health behaviors in order to protect their health and the health of families and communities. Messaging and interventions related to COVID-19 need to focus both on system-level approaches to behavior change and on motivating the individual. Sustaining both levels of change will be critical for moving beyond universal stay at home orders in communities, states, and the country.
Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, MPH, professor and health education expert at the Rutgers School of Public Health, is available to speak about the types of messaging that may have a meaningful impact on changing human behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on what is known about successfully motivating behavior change related to other critical public health issues.
“People first must set intentions to protect themselves and others from COVD-19. For messages to work, they have to include certain elements that we know motivate people to act and maintain actions over time. ‘Wear a mask’ is not as useful as ‘everyone in your town is wearing a mask when they leave their home’. Since we need to do these behaviors for the foreseeable future, we should craft messages that are likely to work.”
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