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J Health Commun ; 26(12): 846-857, 2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1612315


The duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic depends largely on individual and societal actions which are influenced by the quality and salience of the information to which they are exposed. Unfortunately, COVID-19 misinformation has proliferated. Despite growing attempts to mitigate COVID-19 misinformation, there is still uncertainty regarding the best way to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 misinformation. To address this gap, the current study uses a meta-analysis to evaluate the relative impact of interventions designed to mitigate COVID-19-related misinformation. We searched multiple databases and gray literature from January 2020 to September 2021. The primary outcome was COVID-19 misinformation belief. We examined study quality and meta-analysis was used to pool data with similar interventions and outcomes. 16 studies were analyzed in the meta-analysis, including data from 33378 individuals. The mean effect size of interventions to mitigate COVID-19 misinformation was positive, but not statistically significant [d = 2.018, 95% CI (-0.14, 4.18), p = .065, k = 16]. We found evidence of publication bias. Interventions were more effective in cases where participants were involved with the topic, and where text-only mitigation was used. The limited focus on non-U.S. studies and marginalized populations is concerning given the greater COVID-19 mortality burden on vulnerable communities globally. The findings of this meta-analysis describe the current state of the literature and prescribe specific recommendations to better address the proliferation of COVID-19 misinformation, providing insights helpful to mitigating pandemic outcomes.

COVID-19 , Communication , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2