Comparison of Knowledge and Information-Seeking Behavior After General COVID-19 Public Health Messages and Messages Tailored for Black and Latinx Communities

  • Alsan M
  • Stanford F
  • Banerjee A
  • et al.
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BACKGROUND: The paucity of public health messages that directly address communities of color might contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in knowledge and behavior related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). OBJECTIVE: To determine whether physician-delivered prevention messages affect knowledge and information-seeking behavior of Black and Latinx individuals and whether this differs according to the race/ethnicity of the physician and tailored content. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. (Registration:, NCT04371419; American Economic Association RCT Registry, AEARCTR-0005789). SETTING: United States, 13 May 2020 to 26 May 2020. PARTICIPANTS: 14 267 self-identified Black or Latinx adults recruited via Lucid survey platform. INTERVENTION: Participants viewed 3 video messages regarding COVID-19 that varied by physician race/ethnicity, acknowledgement of racism/inequality, and community perceptions of mask-wearing. MEASUREMENTS: Knowledge gaps (number of errors on 7 facts on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention) and information-seeking behavior (number of Web links demanded out of 10 proposed). RESULTS: 7174 Black (61.3%) and 4520 Latinx (38.7%) participants were included in the analysis. The intervention reduced the knowledge gap incidence from 0.085 to 0.065 (incidence rate ratio, [IRR], 0.737 [95% CI, 0.600 to 0.874]) but did not significantly change information-seeking incidence. For Black participants, messages from race/ethnic-concordant physicians increased information-seeking incidence from 0.329 (for discordant physicians) to 0.357 (IRR, 1.085 [CI, 1.026 to 1.145]). LIMITATIONS: Participants' behavior was not directly observed, outcomes were measured immediately postintervention in May 2020, and online recruitment may not be representative. CONCLUSION: Physician-delivered messages increased knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms and prevention methods for Black and Latinx respondents. The desire for additional information increased with race-concordant messages for Black but not Latinx respondents. Other tailoring of the content did not make a significant difference. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Science Foundation; Massachusetts General Hospital; and National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.




Alsan, M., Stanford, F. C., Banerjee, A., Breza, E., Chandrasekhar, A. G., Eichmeyer, S., … Duflo, E. (2020). Comparison of Knowledge and Information-Seeking Behavior After General COVID-19 Public Health Messages and Messages Tailored for Black and Latinx Communities. Annals of Internal Medicine.

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