New article “The Relationship among COVID-19 Information Seeking, News Media Use, and Emotional Distress at the Onset of the Pandemic” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health from the Health Information Technology Studies group.
Although several theories posit that information seeking is related to better psychological health, this logic may not apply to a pandemic like COVID-19. Given uncertainty inherent to the novel virus, we expect that information seeking about COVID-19 will be positively associated with emotional distress. Additionally, we consider the type of news media from which individuals receive information-television, newspapers, and social media-when examining relationships with emotional distress. Using a U.S. national survey, we examine: (1) the link between information seeking about COVID-19 and emotional distress, (2) the relationship between reliance on television, newspapers, and social media as sources for news and emotional distress, and (3) the interaction between information seeking and use of these news media sources on emotional distress. Our findings show that seeking information about COVID-19 was significantly related to emotional distress. Moreover, even after accounting for COVID-19 information seeking, consuming news via television and social media was tied to increased distress, whereas consuming newspapers was not significantly related to greater distress. Emotional distress was most pronounced among individuals high in information seeking and television news use, whereas the association between information seeking and emotional distress was not moderated by newspapers or social media news use.
Hwang J, Borah P, Shah D, Brauer M. The Relationship among COVID-19 Information Seeking, News Media Use, and Emotional Distress at the Onset of the Pandemic. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 14;18(24):13198. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182413198. PMID: 34948806; PMCID: PMC8701074.
Access the Article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34948806/