We are conducting a video messaging campaign about Covid19 targeted toward underserved communities (African American and Latinx). Specifically, we have partnered with a diverse set of doctors who are recording different variants of the central video messages to a) inform individuals about the symptoms and spread of Covid19, b) encourage social distancing and hygiene, and c) encourage mask-wearing.
Our intervention varies the racial/ethnic identity of the doctors delivering the messages. Some respondents will see messages delivered by doctors of concordant race or ethnicity, while others will see the same messages delivered by doctors of discordant race or ethnicity (here, white or Asian).
Our intervention also varies several dimensions of the content of the message:
0. All messages include basic information about the symptoms of covid, social distancing, handwashing, disinfecting surfaces, and mask-wearing.
1. "Elephant in the room": Focus groups with doctors suggested that being honest about their patients' concerns might be a successful strategy for reaching underserved populations. We are embracing this suggestion in some messages in a few different ways.
a.) African American - trust in healthcare: The doctor will acknowledge that the medical system has not always earned the trust of the African American community and still remains unequal in how it treats individuals today.
b.) Hispanic - trust in healthcare: The doctor will acknowledge that there’s a lot of fear about immigration status for some members of the Hispanic community, and of what might happen for those people if they get in contact with hospitals or doctors.
c.) Both groups - economics: The doctor will acknowledge that many of the jobs done by minorities are essential and cannot be done remotely. Additionally, when one lives in tight spaces, it is also much more difficult to keep a safe distance.
d.) No "elephant in the room" message
2. CDC vs. Doctor message on social distancing and hygiene: For the message content on social distancing, hygiene, and disinfecting surfaces, we will randomize between one of the partner doctors delivering the message vs. a video of Dr. Birx from the CDC saying the exact same words.
3. Mask De-biasing: Many individuals worry about the stigma from wearing masks. In particular, some might worry that African Americans wearing masks are up to no good. Others might worry that Latinx individuals wearing masks are more likely to be sick. The mask wearers from these communities may think about perceptions when deciding whether to wear a mask or not. We conducted a survey with 2600 individuals from a representative US sample at the end of April. We found beliefs that look quite different from those perceived by African Americans and Hispanics. Specifically we will use this information in some variants of the videos.
a.) No debiasing content.
b.) African-American version: Not very long ago, people might have been afraid if they saw someone, especially a person of color, walking around town with a mask on. They may have thought the person was up to no good. But, in a MIT survey done in mid-April, 8 out of 10 people who saw a photo of an African-American man wearing a mask said they thought they were protecting the community. Still, some people may act uncomfortable around you when you are wearing a mask.
c.) Latinx version: Not very long ago, people might have been afraid if they saw someone walking around town with a mask on was sick or perhaps was up to no good. But, in a MIT survey done in Mid-April, 8 out of 10 people who saw a photo of a person wearing a mask said they thought they were protecting the community. Still, some people may act uncomfortable around you when you are wearing a mask.
For African American and Latinx respondents, we will randomize whether the doctor's ethnic/racial identity is discordant vs. concordant (2 arms x 2 types of communities)
For each community, we will randomize among 9 versions of the message. We are not cross-randomizing all components, but rather are using the following combinations:
1. Pure control: Individual only sees a brief introductory video before answering the survey questions. These respondents will see a full set of messages only after answering all of our questions.
2. No elephant, doctor SD message, no mask de-biasing
3. Elephant-trust, doctor SD message, no mask de-biasing
4. No elephant, CDC SD message, no mask de-biasing
5. Elephant-trust, CDC SD message, no mask de-biasing
6. No elephant, doctor SD message, mask de-biasing
7. Elephant-trust, doctor SD message, mask de-biasing
8. No elephant, CDC SD message, mask de-biasing
9. Elephant-trust, CDC SD message, mask de-biasing