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The potential of educational comics as a health information medium

McNicol, SL (2016) The potential of educational comics as a health information medium. Health Information and Libraries Journal. ISSN 1471-1842

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Abstract

Objectives To investigate ways in which educational comics might provide support in dealing with feelings and attitudes towards health conditions, as well as improving understanding of factual information and to identify potential weakness of comics as a medium for health information. Methods Semi-structured interviewees with eleven university students who either had a mental or physical health condition themselves or had a family member with a health condition. Results The result highlighted the potential value of comics as a format for health information. In addition to conveying factual information, comics offer opportunities for self-awareness, reassurance, empathy, companionship and a means to explore the impact of illness on family relationships. However, there are notable barriers to the greater use of comics to provide health information, namely, a lack of awareness of, and easy access to, educational comics, along with the perception that comics are exclusively light-hearted and for children. Conclusions Currently, the full potential of comics in health settings is not being realised. Health information professionals may be in a position to address this issue through identifying, cataloguing, indexing and promoting comics as a legitimate format for health information.

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