Cyberchondria, Fear of COVID-19, and Risk Perception Mediate the Association between Problematic Social Media Use and Intention to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine.

Ahorsu DK, Lin CY, Alimoradi Z, Griffiths MD, Chen HP, Broström A, Timpka T, Pakpour AH

Vaccines 10 (1) - [2022-01-14; online 2022-01-14]

Vaccination is the most effective way to control the COVID-19 pandemic, but vaccination hesitancy threatens this effort worldwide. Consequently, there is a need to understand what influences individuals' intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Restriction of information gathering on societal developments to social media may influence attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination through exposure to disinformation and imbalanced arguments. The present study examined the association between problematic social media use and intention to get the COVID-19 vaccine, taking into account the mediating roles of cyberchondria, fear of COVID-19, and COVID-19 risk perception. In a cross-sectional survey study, a total of 10,843 residents of Qazvin City, Iran completed measures on problematic social media use, fear of COVID-19, cyberchondria, COVID-19 risk perception, and intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The data were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM). The results showed that there was no direct association between problematic social media use and intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Nonetheless, cyberchondria, fear of COVID-19, and COVID-19 risk perception (each or serially) mediated associations between problematic social media use and intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine. These results add to the understanding of the role of problematic social media use in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, i.e., it is not the quantity of social media use per se that matters. This knowledge of the mediating roles of cyberchondria, fear of COVID-19, and COVID-19 risk perception can be used by public health experts and policymakers when planning educational interventions and other initiatives in COVID-19 vaccination programs.

Category: Public Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 35062783

DOI 10.3390/vaccines10010122

Crossref 10.3390/vaccines10010122

pii: vaccines10010122


Publications 7.1.2