Understanding health information behaviors of migrant domestic workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Original languageEnglish
Article number12549
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
Online published1 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022



Migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Hong Kong remain vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Obtaining accurate information is essential for MDWs as it helps them understand their predicament and protect themselves. Therefore, this study delves into the MDWs’ health literacy by scrutinizing how they acquire, verify, and respond to pandemic-related information. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 Indonesian MDWs, recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. The data were examined using a constant comparative approach in grounded theory. The findings reveal that the participants engaged in information seeking and scanning to obtain health crisis information, mainly through their friends, family members, and community organizations. The participants also verified the information using their judgment or by consulting other actors, such as local organizations and media outlets. The messages they obtained informed the means to protect themselves, which motivated them to adopt preventive measures. However, some also engaged in maladaptive coping, such as taking ineffective preventive actions. The participants also disseminated health crisis information throughout their social circle. This study concluded that MDWs performed four health information behaviors during the pandemic, namely information acquisition, authenti- cation, sharing, and adoption of preventive measures. However, their information practices may change at different stages of the pandemic.

Research Area(s)

  • migrant domestic workers, health literacy, health crisis, misinformation, health information

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