The impact of COVID-19-related changes in media consumption on public knowledge: results of a cross-sectional survey of Pennsylvania adults

Surav Man Sakya, Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, John C. Garman, Erin L. Miller, Bethany Snyder, Emily Wasserman, Vernon M. Chinchilli, Robert P. Lennon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have increasingly relied on internet versus television news. The extent to which this change in health news consumption practice impacts health knowledge is not known. This study investigates the relationship between most trusted information source and COVID-19 knowledge. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was sent to a convenience sample from a list of adults on a central Pennsylvania health system’s marketing database 25–31 March 2020. Respondents were grouped by their trusted news sources and comparison of respondent COVID-19 knowledge was made between these groups for 5948 respondents. Results: Those who selected government health websites as their most trusted source were more likely to answer COVID-19 questions correctly than those who selected other internet news sources or television news (OR 1.21, p <.05; 1.08, p >.05; and 0.87, p <.05, respectively). Those who used Facebook as an additional source of news in any way were less likely to answer COVID-19 questions correctly than those who did not (OR 0.93, p <.05). Conclusions: COVID-19 knowledge correlates with trusted news source. To increase public knowledge of COVID-19 in order to maximize information dissemination and compliance with COVID-19-related public health recommendations, those who provide health information should consider use of the public’s most trusted sources of information, as well as monitoring and correcting misinformation presented by other sources. Independent content review for accuracy in media may be warranted in public health emergencies to improve knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-915
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Volume37
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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