Media reporting of summer drowning: a partial picture, useful for advocacy

Peden, Amy E., Franklin, Richard C., and Wilcox-Pidgeon, Stacey (2020) Media reporting of summer drowning: a partial picture, useful for advocacy. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 31 (3). pp. 491-496.

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Issue addressed: Media reporting of drowning deaths can be used for multiple purposes, including advocacy, enhancing data on drowning and supporting policy development. Accurate, current and comprehensive data help ensure the development of effective prevention programs as well as being a tool for advocacy. Advocacy for drowning prevention through the media can create behaviour change aligned to the Health Belief Model (HBM).

Methods: This study compares media reports of fatal unintentional drowning across the 2017/18 Australian summer (1-December-2017 to 28-February-2018) with drowning cases in the National Coronial Information System (NCIS).

Results: Media monitoring identified 84 cases, of which nine (11%), were deaths but not drowning. There were 104 NCIS deaths during this time of which 75 were reported in the media (72% capture). Media captured 100% of drowning incidents involving people 0-24 years and in ocean/harbour locations. Drowning incidents among older people (75+ years; 36% capture), in bathtubs (0% capture), swimming pools (33% capture) and with an unknown activity (27% capture) were poorly reported.

Conclusions: Where there are a lack of timely data on drowning, the use of media can help capture deaths, with limitations. Transmission of messages about drowning risk factors and prevention strategies, during summer, may lead to behaviour change at a time when drowning risk is highest.

So what? Working with the media to help enhance advocacy efforts, in particular the development and use of effective drowning prevention messages, is key to informing the public about risk factors in the HBM to achieve behaviour change.

Item ID: 61218
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2201-1617
Keywords: behaviour change, drowning prevention, health advocacy, injury, mass media
Copyright Information: © 2019 Australian Health Promotion Association
Funders: Royal Life Saving Society – Australia
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 07:44
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420603 Health promotion @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control @ 100%
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