Local economic data encourages lawmakers to open emails – but only Democrats

Customizing the scope of legislators to include the local economic impact of an issue can increase research engagement among democratic but not Republican legislators.

Findings published in the journal Science of applicationsupport, including economic evidence in communicating with legislators, but also signals the value of adapting communication by a political party.

Legislators make policy decisions that affect public health, and effectively sharing research with them can increase the likelihood that their decisions will match research. However, little is known about how best to communicate the survey to politicians.

“We have very little evidence to help us direct, for example, which data to include in a policy summary or to highlight in emails to selected officials and their staff,” said Jonathan Pertle, associate professor of public health policy and management. at the NYU School of Global Public Health and lead author of the study.

Pertle and colleagues suggested that including economic and local data would increase legislators’ involvement in evidence-based policies – in this case, policies specific to adverse child experiences, including child abuse and community violence, which are risk factors. for behavioral health problems in adulthood. State lawmakers are in a unique position, say the study’s authors, to make policy decisions that reduce children’s exposure to these adverse experiences, including introducing and expanding programs that reduce caregiver stress and increase economic security.

To test their idea, researchers conducted a survey that emailed information about adverse child experiences and behavioral health to 6,509 U.S. lawmakers from all 50 states (nearly 90 percent of state lawmakers). Two emails were sent to each legislator two weeks apart.

Legislators were randomly assigned to three groups: one that received state-specific data on the prevalence of adverse childhood events and one that received state-specific data on the economic impact of childhood adverse events on social systems, and one that received state-specific data for distribution, but no economic dataand a third “control condition” that received national distribution data and no economic data. The topics of the email, the text and the summary of the policy were tailored to each of the three groups.

Researchers then measured the percentage of emails shown, clicks on policy shortcuts, requests to consult with researchers, and mentions of child abuse terms in legislators’ social media posts after the emails were released.

Researchers have found that the inclusion of local economic data significantly increases email engagement – meaning that emails that include “economic impact” in the subject are more likely to be open. However, this only applied to Democrats. In contrast, economic data does not affect Republican lawmakers, who are more likely to engage in emails that include national data on childhood adverse events than state-specific data. In general, Democratic lawmakers were more likely to commit to emails, and while they were more likely to open those with localized economic data, they were still slightly more likely than their Republican counterparts to open emails with national data.

Among all legislators, the rate of viewing the first e-mail is 42.6% higher in the first group, which includes both government-adapted data and economic data, than in the second, which includes data tailored to the state, but without economic data , and 20.8% higher than the third group, which includes only national data but not economic data. This shows that country-specific data on the prevalence of childhood adverse events have not increased engagement compared to national data.

In addition, local and economic data do not affect how many legislators have clicked on the short-term policy link or requested consultations with researchers. Personalized data had a mixed effect on social media publications by legislators, depending on how researchers analyzed the terms used in social media publications.

“Our results provide specific guidelines for informing legislators to disseminate research, but also highlight the need for future research to test the effects of adapting materials to THE BOARD from a political party, ”said Peartle, who is also director of policy research at New York University’s Global Center for Applied Science.

Additional study authors include Catherine L. Nelson, Luwam Gebrecristos, and Felice Le-Sherban of Drensafe School of Public Health at Drexel University and Sarah E. Golust of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.


Most U.S. lawmakers are not looking for universities to study behavioral health


More info:
Party differences in the effects of economic evidence and local data on the legislator’s commitment to disseminating behavioral health materials: dissemination experience, Science of application (2022). DOI: 10.1186 / s13012-022-01214-7

Quote: Local economic data encourages lawmakers to open emails – but only Democrats (2022, June 22), retrieved on June 22, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-local-economic-legislators- emailsbut-democrats.html

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