Public media communications about H1N1, risk perceptions and immunization behaviours: A Quebec–France comparison

Cécile Rousseau, Nicolas Moreau, Marie-Pier Dumas, Ida Bost, Sylvie Lefebvre, Laëtitia Atlani-Duault

During the H1N1 pandemic, governments tailored their communications plans in order to influence risk perception and promote public compliance with the public health plan measures. Considering the volume and the content of calls to flu information centres as indicators of the public risk perception, this mixed method study compares the relation between public communications, risk perception and immunization behaviour in Quebec and France. Results suggest that advocating for clear information and coordination between health authorities and the media promotes adherence to preventive behaviour. However, over-exaggerating the risks and minimizing the population’s agency may undermine health authority credibility.

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