Special Issue | Health Communication for/with Vulnerable Groups in Society

Guest Editors: Isabell Koinig, Christina Seeger (University of Klagenfurst, Austria) and Elena Link (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany)

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Health communication for and with vulnerable groups or individuals has become increasingly important. Vulnerability encompasses at least two strands: On the one hand, individuals and groups are described as “vulnerable” based on group membership, and the group is thereby labelled vulnerable due to specific characteristics. Vulnerable groups may include, for example children and adolescents, older adults, people with disabilities, people with cognitive impairments or people in emergency and extreme situations. On the other hand, vulnerability is described as contextual, whereby context influences the vulnerability of individuals and social groups. While circumstances may threaten the group’s existence and result in the dissolution of relationships, social support could strengthen the group and group ties, respectively. In this sense, vulnerability may change for an individual if the context changes (Kwek, 2017; Wisner et al., 2004). Regardless of which form of vulnerability applies, vulnerable groups and individuals are at higher risk for poor physical, psychological or social health (Schiavo, 2013).

Whether vulnerability is social or contextual, health communication may serve different purposes. It may aid vulnerable groups and individuals in enhancing their awareness of the historical, social or other disadvantages of social groups. In the case of contextual vulnerability, the specifics of vulnerability must be considered when drafting health communication messages and interventions (Kwek, 2017).

This special issue is open but not limited to studies that address the following topics:

  • Media portrayals of vulnerable individuals and groups or vulnerabilities
  • Health information behaviours, such as information seeking, scanning, sharing or information avoidance, of vulnerable individuals/groups
  • Health communication efforts to raise awareness of vulnerable individuals and groups
  • Health communication efforts to reach vulnerable individuals and groups
  • Health communication efforts to support and empower vulnerable individuals and groups
  • Challenges of communicating with or reaching vulnerable individuals and groups

Submission format

We welcome submissions that fit any of the EJHC formats: original research papers, theoretical papers, methodological papers, review articles, and brief research reports. For further information on the article types, please see http://www.ejhc.org/about/submissions. If you have questions regarding the fit of your paper for this special issue, please contact the guest editors.

Manuscripts must be prepared according to the EJHC author guidelines and submitted via the journal's website.

Review Process

All articles will undergo a rigorous two-step peer review process. The first step focuses on the extended abstract, while the second step is based on full papers. Once the editorial management team assesses the abstract as appropriate (with regard to form, content and quality), the invited and submitted full papers will be peer reviewed by at least two reviewers in a double-blind review process, meaning that reviewers are not disclosed to authors, and authors are not disclosed to reviewers. To ensure short publication processes, the EJHC releases articles online on a rolling basis, expected to start in November 2024.

Overview of the Timeline

December 1, 2023

Deadline for abstract submission
PDF, APA format, max. 1,000 words + references, appendix; please add a title page with author and contact information

January 8, 2024

Invitation to selected authors to submit full paper
To prepare the full paper, see the author guidelines

March 31, 2024

Full paper submission

November 2024

Target date for start of article publications

Contact Guest Editors

Isabell Koinig (Austria): Isabelle.Koinig@aau.at
Christina Seegers (Austria): Christina.Seeger@aau.at
Elena Link (Germany): elena.link@uni-mainz.de