Uses of Agent-Based Modeling for Health Communication: the TELL ME Case Study

Peter Barbrook-Johnson, Jennifer Badham, Nigel Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
348 Downloads (Pure)


Government communication is an important management tool during a public health crisis, but understanding its impact is difficult. Strategies may be adjusted in reaction to developments on the ground and it is challenging to evaluate the impact of communication separately from other crisis management activities. Agent-based modeling is a well-established research tool in social science to respond to similar challenges. However, there have been few such models in public health. We use the example of the TELL ME agent-based model to consider ways in which a non-predictive policy model can assist policy makers. This model concerns individuals' protective behaviors in response to an epidemic, and the communication that influences such behavior. Drawing on findings from stakeholder workshops and the results of the model itself, we suggest such a model can be useful: (i) as a teaching tool, (ii) to test theory, and (iii) to inform data collection. We also plot a path for development of similar models that could assist with communication planning for epidemics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalHealth Communication
Early online date19 Jul 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 19 Jul 2016


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