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Building solidarity and trust in public health messaging in the misinformation era

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to see ourselves as being in this together while remaining apart. How does social solidarity affect how we hear and work with public health guidelines?

Picture of many hands raised up together

New research funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council will look at what drives social solidarity with emergency public health measures. The project will also develop specific public health messages for at-risk groups and engage with those groups to help build trust in agencies such as health services and the police.

What is the issue?

If people feel solidarity with others around them and have trust in experts, they will be more likely to take on board emergency health measures and act accordingly. 

What will the research project do?

The project will explore the value of social solidarity for the pandemic response, will assess how to tackle misinformation and disinformation and will develop specific messaging to build solidarity and trust.

What will the impact be?

By creating more solidarity and trust in at-risk groups, the project will encourage people to follow emergency health measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lead Researcher Professor Orla Muldoon, Professor of Psychology, University of Limerick, says: 

“We are very grateful to the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council for this funding.  As vaccination efforts are rolled out, solidarity and trust are as important as ever in combatting COVID-19.  We hope that our research will help to keep people on board with public health efforts.”

Lead Researcher: Professor Orla Muldoon, University of Limerick

Elaine Kinsella, Jenny Roth, Rose Galvin and Mike Quayle, University of Limerick
Eavan Muldoon and Cathal O’Broin, Mater Hospital and UCD