Research Topic

COVID-19: Risk Communication and Blame

About this Research Topic

In the context of COVID-19, political leaders, governments, public health authorities, and citizens are adopting extreme measures (such as quarantines) to protect the population against a largely invisible and often intangible threat. In the face of this costly response, there is often an instinctive search ...

In the context of COVID-19, political leaders, governments, public health authorities, and citizens are adopting extreme measures (such as quarantines) to protect the population against a largely invisible and often intangible threat. In the face of this costly response, there is often an instinctive search for more tangible targets to blame for both the pandemic itself and the response required to manage the outbreak. However, this tendency to blame has the potential to disrupt the collective response needed to address COVID-19 by triggering/deepening political, racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance. Various media sources have been central to risk communication, and in offering a platform for policy debates at the time of the outbreak they have often been reproached for spreading messages that promote blame. Against this backdrop, the various risk communication strategies and approaches to media message framing adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic require urgent investigation.

The aim of this Research Topic is to explore the concept of blame in COVID-19 risk communication from a variety of perspectives in order to inform public policy and develop effective risk communication strategies.

This includes:

- The conceptualization and theorization of COVID-19 related blame, including from a health, social and personality psychology standpoint, and why blame exists in risk communication and translation
- The theoretical underpinnings of the mechanism of blame in COVID-19 risk communication
- The consequences of COVID-19-related blame at various societal levels, including those of individuals, social groups, organizations, and systems
- Sociological, psychological and behavioral factors that influence blame projection in pandemics
- Societal approaches to preventing and reducing blame and its consequences in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Social psychological approaches to risk communication, public health, and understanding blame related to COVID-19 (including social identity approaches).
- Lessons to be learnt and strategies for improved risk communication in pandemics
- Analysis of media message and risk communication strategies
- Innovative approaches to risk communication (such as those involving new technologies and AI)

This Research Topic welcomes contributions from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including:

· communication ethics
· cultural studies
· health communication
· health and social psychology
· international relations
· media studies
· medical anthropology
· medical humanities
· medical sociology
· political communication
· political science
· public health
· public policy
· risk communication
· social media studies
· sociology, race and ethnicity studies

While we particularly encourage empirical research and theoretical and systematic review papers, mini-reviews and well-written narrative papers, especially those using up to date evidence, will also be considered. Strong opinion and perspective papers may also be submitted.


Keywords: COVID-19, blame, risk communication, public health, social psychology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

18 January 2021 Manuscript
20 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

18 January 2021 Manuscript
20 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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