Communication Research and COVID-19

This semester is unlike any semester that we have experienced in our careers. Whether as a student, faculty member, advisor, or staff member, we are being pulled in so many directions and facing so many different sources of stress that it may seem overwhelming and beyond our ability to cope. At the same time, we are all Wayne State Warriors, and during times like this, we can pull together—even when physically distanced from each other—to overcome adversity. 

During times such as these, we know the important role that communication plays--- this page exists to highlight what the department is doing in response to the pandemic. In addition to departmental updates, you will also see links to articles that feature communication faculty and students whose work adds to the ongoing conversation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the most powerful weapons we have to fight the pandemic is education: the more we learn about how to combat the virus and how to cope with the negative effects the pandemic is having on our lives, the better.

Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html to learn more about the virus and how to protect yourself (or what to do if you are sick), as well as ways to manage the anxiety you may be experiencing during this time. Please also visit https://wayne.edu/coronavirus to learn more about how the University is responding to this unprecedented crisis.

I wish you and your family all the best. Warrior Strong.

Dr. Katheryn Maguire 

Professor and Chair, Department of Communication

Note from the Chair

April 2, 2020: Letter to Students

COVID-19 News Features

Dr. Mathew Seeger:

BONUS Episode: COVID-19 Pandemic 

Crisis communication researcher shares 5 key principles that officials should use in coronavirus

Black communities hit harder by coronavirus in Michigan, not just Detroit

Trump is breaking every rule in the CDC's 450-page playbook for health crisis

Why Respectable Doctors Choose to Mix With Cranks and Quacks on Fox News

State agencies, hospitals, senior homes hold tight to key details about the coronavirus pandemic

Dr. Katheryn Maguire:

How to Maintain Relationships in Self-Isolation (BBC Article) 

From brick and mortar to remote work, juggling work and family during COVID-19

How to Be an Effective Listener For Your Child

Dr. Rahul Mitra: 

Opinion | How to ensure water security and beat coronavirus in Michigan

COVID-19 Events

COVID-19 RESEARCH SERIES: ONLINE HATE, RACISM, & RESILIENCE 
Since March 2020, explicit racial discrimination has emerged as yet another deleterious effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on American life. In this research series, we report on the results of several studies that examine the startling increase of incidents of online harassment against Asian Americans that has coincided with the pandemic. Click here for more about this Social Media and Relational Technology Lab.

CALL for SUBMISSIONS/Special issue of Journal of Family Communication
Deadline Nov. 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected families around the world. As a result, governments have required cities, regions, and in some cases entire countries to "lock down" where only essential employees are allowed to go to work, leaving millions of families to figure out how to balance the competing economic and health demands associated with the disease while also facing physical isolation from extended family and support systems. Even as "lock downs" ease around the world, the effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting, as families attempt to adapt to the changes and cope with the uncertainty that may characterize life in the foreseeable future. At the same time, families are resilient, often emerging from crises as strong, if not stronger than before, a process attributable to effective family communication.   
The purpose of this special issue of the Journal of Family Communication (Volume 21, Issue 3 in 2021), coedited by Katheryn Maguire of Wayne State University and Sylvia Mikucki-Enyart of the University of Iowa, is to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on family communication as well as on teaching, research, and practice. Click HERE for more information about the Call and instructions for submission

WEBINAR
Chaos at the Intersection of Crisis and Health: Navigating the Paradox of Communicating Certainty in Uncertain Times

Monday, June 8, 5:30 pm EST/ 2:30 pm PST/ 9:30 pm UTC

This Webinar is offered as part of the Summer Doctoral Seminar in Health, Risk, and Crisis Communication by Guest Scholar Dr. Timothy L. Sellnow.

By their nature, crises are shocking, threaten lives and livelihoods, and create enervating uncertainty. Regardless of crisis type, anxious publics demand explicit answers to questions about how to best protect themselves and their loved ones from the looming threat. Paradoxically, the more uncertainty the crisis evokes, the more publics' demand certainty. When, as is painfully often, crises become politicized, uncertainty is further intensified by conspiracy theories, personal attacks, and denial of compelling evidence. This presentation views the paradox of certainty in uncertain times from the perspective of chaos theory. In doing so, the problem is clarified and recommendations for navigating this paradox are provided.

Webinar Recording
The recording of the Webinar is available here.

COVID-19 Research Projects and Publications

WHO Evidence Syntheses to Support the Guideline on Emergency Risk Communication

The World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored project Evidence Syntheses to Support the Guideline on Emergency Risk Communication was successfully completed by a faculty team consisting of Stine Eckert, Julie Novak, Donyale Padgett, Pradeep Sopory (Principal Investigator), and Lee Wilkins.

The project focused on communication-related to public health emergency events, such as earthquakes, emerging infectious diseases, hurricanes, industrial accidents, and terrorism, and the team conducted systematic reviews on six questions of interest: Trust in authorities; strategic communication planning; community engagement; the role of social media; uncertainty; and message elements and timing.

The questions of interest investigated by the project have yielded several White Papers. These are available on the WHO webpages related to risk communication and can be accessed here: http://www.who.int/risk-communication/guidance/process/systematic-reviews/en/.

In addition, the project has yielded three publications: Eckert, S., Sopory, P., Day, A., Wilkins, L., Padgett, D., Novak, J., Noyes, J., Allen, T., Alexander, N., Vanderford, M., & Gamhewage, G. (2018). Health-related disaster communication and social media: Mixed-method systematic review. Health Communication, 33, 1389-1400. [Online first August 21, 2017]. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1351278.

Novak, J., Day, A., Sopory, P., Wilkins, L., Padgett, D. R., Eckert, S., Noyes, J., Allen, T., Alexander, N., Vanderford, M., & Gamhewage, G. (2019). Engaging communities in emergency risk and crisis communication: Mixed-method systematic review and evidence synthesis. Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication, 2, 61-96. doi: 10.30658/jicrcr.2.1.4

Sopory, P., Day, A. M., Novak, J. M., Eckert, K., Wilkins, L., Padgett, D. R., Gamhewage, G. M. (2019). Communicating uncertainty during public health emergency events: A systematic review. Review of Communication Research, 7. doi: 10.12840/ISSN.2255-4165.019

Work, Family, and Relationships

The Work, Family, and Relationships project is an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers in Communication (Katheryn Maguire), Sociology (Krista Brumley and Shirin Montazer), and Industrial-Organizational Psychology (Boris Baltes) to study how dual-income couples manage work-family conflict.

Montazer, S., Brumley, K., & Maguire, K. (in press). Overnight work-travel, work-to-family conflict, and psychological distress. Social Science Journal.

National Science Foundation Grant Awarded to Wayne State University 

The Work, Family, and Relationships project is an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers in Communication (Katheryn Maguire), Sociology (Krista Brumley and Shirin Montazer), and Industrial-Organizational Psychology (Boris Baltes) to study how dual-income couples manage work-family conflict. The team recently received an NSF Grant (#2031726) to fund a longitudinal study of these couples as they adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more on the project click here .