COVID-19 related information seeking: The impact of media on parental concerns

Front Public Health. 2022 Oct 13:10:977634. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.977634. eCollection 2022.


The expansion of information sources and their use has accelerated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes provoking significant concern in the daily lives of parents. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between COVID-19 related information sources and the level of concern about COVID-19 among parents of school-aged children. Using factor analysis and hierarchical ascending classification, we constructed groups according to the information sources they used. We performed ANOVA analysis and then binomial logistic regression to compare concern levels among the groups created. Overall, the 3,459 participants were mainly women (79.2%) and 59.5% reported being between 35 and 44 years old. The mean concern score in our sample was 9.5/15 (s.d. = 3.87). The whole sample fell into three groups: (1) Traditional Media (n = 1,610), who mainly used newspapers; (2) Online Social Networks and Entourage (n = 776), who mostly consulted online social media as well as friends and family; and (3) the Unplugged (n = 1,073), who consulted few or no information sources. Compared to the Unplugged, individuals in the other two groups had a higher risk of being concerned (Traditional Media, OR = 2.2; p < 0.001; Social Networks and Entourage, OR = 3.1; p < 0.001). Communication about pandemic risk should be conveyed based on reliable information and at moderate intervals to safeguard the mental health of individuals.

Keywords: COVID-19; cluster analysis; information sources; media use; parental concern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Parents
  • Social Media*