The effects of social media news that users trusted and verified on anxiety level and disease control perception in COVID-19 pandemic


Senturk E., Genis B., MENKÜ B. E. , COŞAR B.

KLINIK PSIKIYATRI DERGISI-TURKISH JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY, vol.24, no.1, pp.23-32, 2021 (ESCI) identifier identifier

Abstract

Objective: Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media users have been bombarded with news about the number of cases and deaths, virus origin, vaccine development process, symptoms, transmission ways, prevention and treatment methods of COVID-19. This study was planned considering that the type of news sources and verification of the news was considerable and these affect the anxiety level and COVID-19 disease control perception. It was considered that reliance on different types of social media accounts (official or unofficial), verifying social media posts with other news sources, frequency of exposure to negative COVID-19 social media contents may have effects on this state. The aim of this study was to reveal the effects of these three variables on anxiety level and COVID-19 disease control perception of participants. Method: The sample consisted of 1516 adults. Participants filled out instruments for sociodemographic data, verification/trust on posts of official/unofficial social media accounts, state anxiety, COVID-19 disease control perception, frequency of exposure to positive/negative COVID-19 social media contents. Results: It was detected that as trust in COVID-19 posts of official social media accounts increased, anxiety level decreased and COVID-19 disease control perception increased. It was observed that as exposure to negative COVID-19 social media contents increased, anxiety level increased and COVID-19 disease control perception decreased. There was no significant correlation between anxiety level and verifying the accuracy of social media posts with other news sources. Discussion: While physical contact accelerates the spread of COVID-19 disease, it was thought that digital contact could be a tool that could decelerate individual and mass anxiety if used appropriately. It is obvious that posts that are reliable and verified will play a key role in controlling anxiety level and disease perception.