Review article of International Research Journal of Health Education
Contradiction and Double Binds in COVID-19 Face Covering Recommendations
Tyler Spradley, Ph.D.1*, Elizabeth L. Spradley, Ph.D.1
1Stephen F. Austin State University.
The global coronavirus pandemic incited swift public health recommendations and education in the United States and throughout the world to reduce the spread of the virus. In the U.S., the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the “Slow the Spread” campaign in 15 and 30-day increments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other public health organizations and representatives weighed in on the role of face coverings to counter COVID-19 threats to public health. Face coverings became a contested public health recommendation. This article rhetorically analyzes contradiction in COVID-19 face covering recommendations and the ensuant double-binds. Analysis of press conferences, national public health websites, and the “Slow the Spread” campaign reveals contradictions in individual risk-averse public health recommendations, specifically face coverings. Contradictions were categorized into: uncover-cover, risky-risk averse, voluntary-recommended-required, and politically right-left. Implications of contradictory messages create double binds for the public seeking to adhere to public health recommendations for personal and public safety. Double binding public health messages undermine public health goals because double binds often result in maladaptive, inappropriate responses. Conclusions assert that to be a responsible citizen of personal and public health in a viral pandemic is a contested and contradictory accomplishment.
Keywords: COVID-19; Contradiction; Double Binds
How to cite this article:
R. Tyler Spradley, Elizabeth L. Spradley. Contradiction and Double Binds in COVID-19 Face Covering Recommendations. International Research Journal of Health Education, 2020; 3:13. DOI: 10.28933/irjhe-2020-09-1205
1. Gallagher, K. M., & Updegraff, J. A. (2012). Health message framing effects on attitudes, intentions, and behavior: A meta-analytic review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43, 101–116. doi:10.1007/s12160-011-9308-7
2. Xu, Z. & Guo, H. (2018). A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Guilt on Health-Related Attitudes and Intentions, Health Communication, 33 (5), 519-525, DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1278633
3. Bateson, G., Jackson, D. D., Haley, J., & Weakland, J. (1956). Toward a theory of schizophrenia. Behavioral science, 1(4), 251-264.
4. Mandell, H. (2015). Political wives, scandal, and the double bind: Press construction of Silda Spitzer and Jenny Sanford through a gendered lens. Women’s Studies in Communication, 38, 57–77. DOI: 10.1080/07491409.2014.995327.
5. Sheeler, K. H., & Anderson, K. V. (2013). Woman president: Confronting postfeminist political culture. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
6. Crosby, E.D. (2016). Chased by the double bind: Intersectionality and the disciplining of Lolo Jones. Women’s Studies in Communication, 39(2), 228-248. DOI: 10.1080/07491409.2016.1172388.
7. Wood, J. T., & Conrad, C. (1983). Paradox in the experiences of professional women. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 47, 305–322.
8. Why one expert says healthy people should wear DIY face masks. (2020 March 30). Washington Post, retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/health-science/why-one-expert-says-healthy-people-should-wear-diy-face-masks/2020/03/30/c238a368-b2fa-481a-8f0c-dea376ab994d_video.html.
9. The White House. (2020 March 16). 15 days to slow the spread. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/15-days-slow-spread/
10. The White House. (2020 April). 30 days to slow the spread. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf
11. Mocarski, R. & Bissell, K. (2016). Edutainment’s impact on health promotion: Viewing the Biggest Loser through the social cognitive theory. Health Promotion Practice, 17(1), 107-115. DOI: 10.1177/1524839915613026.
12. Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force in press briefing. (2020 April 2). Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-briefing-17/
13. Liptak, K. (2020 April 3). Trump announces new face mask recommendations after heated internal debate. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/03/politics/trump-white-house-face-masks/index.html.
14. U.S. Surgeon General explains why CDC recommends public does not wear masks. (2020 March 31). Retrieved from https://video.foxnews.com/v/6145988945001#sp=show-clips.
15. ABC News Good Morning America. (2020 April 1). U.S. Surgeon General details spread of corona-virus and debate over masks [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDue2PImkIQ
16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020 April 3). How to make your own face covering [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPx1yqvJgf4
17. Bandura, A. (1991). Social Cognitive Theory of Self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 248-287. www.uky.edu/~eushe2/BanduraPubs/Bandura1991OBHDP.pdf
18. Bandura, A. (1998). Health promotion from the perspective of social cognitive theory. Psychology and health, 13(4), 623-649.
19. Rosentock, I.M, Strecher, V.J., & Becker, M.H. (1988). Social Learning Theory and the Health Belief Model. Health Education Quarterly, 15(2), 175-183.
20. Witte, K. (1994). Fear control and danger control: A test of the extended parallel process model (EPPM). Communications Monographs, 61(2), 113-134.
21. Liptak, K. (2020 Arpil 3). Trump announces new face mask recommendations after heated internal debate. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/03/politics/trump-white-house-face-masks/index.html.
22. The White House. (2020 May 6). President Trump visits Honeywell [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5a99-pFmQI
23. NBC News. (2020 June 20). Trump holds rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma [Video]. YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THmEyiBhbRM
24. National Governors Association. (2020 May 26). ND Gov. Doug Burgum – May 2020 masks [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAiHcSpOEYo
25. Fisher, K.A., Barile, J.P., Guirin, R., Esshert, K.L.V., Jeffers, A., Tian, L.H., Garcia-Williams, A., Gurbaxani, B., Thompson, W., & Prue, C.E. (2020 July 14). Factors associated with cloth face covering use among adults during the COVID-19 pandemic – United States, April and May 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/vol umes/69/ wr/mm6928e3.htm?s_cid=mm6928e3_w
26. Wood, J. T., & Conrad, C. (1983). Paradox in the experiences of professional women. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 47, 305–322.
27. Gallagher, K. M., & Updegraff, J. A. (2012). Health message framing effects on attitudes, intentions, and behavior: A meta-analytic review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43, 101–116. doi:10.1007/s12160-011-9308-7