Worry About COVID-19, Acquiring Health Information, and Communication Resilience Processes: Creating Resilience During the First Wave of the U.S. Pandemic

Health Commun. 2022 Jun 26;1-11. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2022.2091911. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Integrating concepts from the communication theory of resilience (CTR) with theories of health information management and media-stimulated interpersonal conversation, this study investigates associations between worry about COVID-19, acquiring health information from government, news, and personal sources, and enactment of resilience processes. Findings from a representative sample (N = 600) of Floridians show that the extent to which people worried that they or their loves ones might contract COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic predicted the extent to which they reported getting health information from a range of news (e.g. national and local newspapers) and personal (e.g. family, friends/coworkers) sources. A serial multiple mediator model found that worry about COVID-19 was associated with acquiring information about COVID from news sources, which predicted getting information about COVID from personal sources, which in turn predicted enactment of resilience processes. Discussion centers on the role that emotions as well as information management at multiple levels (e.g. media, close relationships) play in people's attempts to enact resilience in the context of a public health emergency.