Navigating a Pandemic: A Qualitative Study of Knowledge, Sources of Information, and COVID-19-Related Precautions Taken by HBCU Students

AbstractThe coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread quickly across the nation with a disproportionate impact on Black Americans. Many college-aged students receive their COVID-19-related information through social media and television even though research suggests that social media sources are more likely to be incorrect. Some students report trusting these sources over government sources such as the CDC and WHO. The purpose of this study was to understand Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students ’ COVID-19 knowledge, sources of information, and planned precautions. There were 21 in-depth interviews conducted with students attending a large southern HBCU during Spring 2020. Themes regarding knowledge included the following: it is a flu-like condition, it has international roots, there is i naccurate and changing information, and it is a pandemic. Themes regarding sources included: the news, US government and related officials, social media, interactions with family, and other social interactions. Themes regarding severity included the following: statistics, a distrust for hospital rep orting, a belief that COVID-19 deaths were conflated with baseline health, peer influence, and familial influence. Themes regarding precautions included the following: proper mask use, hand washing/ sanitizing, avoiding large crowds/small crowds only, physical distancing, COVID-19 testing/symptom mo nitoring, and COVID-19 vaccination.
Source: Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: research