The COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically changed our life. Despite the rapid growth of scientific publications about medical aspects of the pandemic, less has been explored about the effects of media communication regarding COVID-19 on healthy behaviors. Yet, the scientific literature has widely debated on how media can influence people’s health-related evaluations, emotions, and behaviors. To fill this gap, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between media exposure, people’s attitudes and emotions toward media contents, and healthy behaviors related to the use of public spaces, such as avoiding crowded places, wearing face masks, and maintaining social distance. A questionnaire referring to these variables was administered to an opportunistic sample of 174 participants in Italy during the off-peak period of the COVID-19 outbreak and before restrictions to mobility were extended to the whole country. Results showed that media exposure, the perception of social initiatives of prevention, and moderate levels of fear increase healthier behaviors in the use of public spaces. Perceiving alarming information did not significantly predict healthy behaviors in the use of public spaces. Results are discussed with reference to the previous literature. Suggestions to media communication to increase preventive behaviors during emergencies are also provided.

TV News and COVID-19: Media Influence on Healthy Behavior in Public Spaces

Antonio Aquino
2021-01-01

Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically changed our life. Despite the rapid growth of scientific publications about medical aspects of the pandemic, less has been explored about the effects of media communication regarding COVID-19 on healthy behaviors. Yet, the scientific literature has widely debated on how media can influence people’s health-related evaluations, emotions, and behaviors. To fill this gap, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between media exposure, people’s attitudes and emotions toward media contents, and healthy behaviors related to the use of public spaces, such as avoiding crowded places, wearing face masks, and maintaining social distance. A questionnaire referring to these variables was administered to an opportunistic sample of 174 participants in Italy during the off-peak period of the COVID-19 outbreak and before restrictions to mobility were extended to the whole country. Results showed that media exposure, the perception of social initiatives of prevention, and moderate levels of fear increase healthier behaviors in the use of public spaces. Perceiving alarming information did not significantly predict healthy behaviors in the use of public spaces. Results are discussed with reference to the previous literature. Suggestions to media communication to increase preventive behaviors during emergencies are also provided.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/744502
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