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Behaviour change strategies in UK's COVID-19 public health communications

Content analysis of behaviour change strategies used in the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 public health communications

Human behaviour is central to limiting the spread of COVID-19: including behaviours such as face mask wearing, vaccination uptake, social distancing and handwashing.

In the UK, national public health communications have been delivered throughout the pandemic in various ways, such as via regular national televised briefings led by leading scientific experts and government representatives and health promotion materials by organisations such as Public Health England (now UK Health Security Agency as of 1st October 2021).

However, we currently lack a systematic analysis of the content and effectiveness of the UK’s public health communications used to address COVID-19. 

This project aims to:

  • identify behaviour change strategies used within the United Kingdom (UK)’s COVID-19 national televised briefings
  • identify behaviour change strategies used within Public Health England COVID-19 resources
  • assess the appropriateness and adequacy of these identified behaviour change strategies in the public, public health and behaviour change researchers and practitioners

This research will use content analysis and expert consensus methods to assess the appropriateness and adequacy of behaviour change strategies used in the UK’s public health communications.

Phases 1 & 2 will perform content analysis of COVID-19 public health communications. Phase 1 will analyse national televised briefings from March 2020-September 2021. Phase 2 will analyse Public Health England COVID-19 resources extracted from their COVID-19 Resource Centre. Phase 3 will perform a Delphi exercise of UK public, public health and behaviour change researchers and practitioners.

Pre-registration for this project will be published shortly.

Insights from this research can be used to provide recommendations on future COVID-19 communication strategies and interventions.

Project findings will contribute to national and international understanding of the content and adequacy of public health communications during COVID-19.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project


Related Research Group(s)

Health Behaviour Change

Health Behaviour Change - Development and evaluation of theory- and evidence-based health behaviour change interventions, across communicable and non-communicable diseases; evidence synthesis of behaviour change interventions.


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Project last modified 29/10/2021