Understanding Online Health Risk Information Seeking and Avoiding during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Xin Zhou, Anthony J. Roberto, Anya Hommadova Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study tested the utility of the Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model in understanding why people seek or avoid online information about COVID-19. Data collected at three different time points (i.e., February, April, and May 2020) showed the measured RISP model constructs explained between 70–78.8% of the variance for information seeking, and between 36.9–62.5% of the variance for information avoiding. Specifically, fear, information insufficiency, and relevant channel beliefs consistently predicted information seeking. Further, information insufficiency and relevant channel beliefs consistently predicted information avoidance. However, fear had no association with information avoidance. Longitudinally, the study found that within individuals, there were larger increases in most RISP model constructs between Time 1 and Time 2, and smaller changes occurred from Time 2 to Time 3. However, there was no significant change in information seeking over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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