Does fact-checking habit promote COVID-19 knowledge during the pandemic? Evidence from China

W. Yu, F. Shen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Promoting health knowledge during a public health crisis is essential. This study aims to examine how fact-checking habit influences COVID-19 knowledge in the COVID-19 infodemic. Study design: This study uses a cross-sectional survey. Methods: During the early outbreak of COVID-19 in China, we conducted an online survey and collected data from 3000 representative Chinese Internet users. The study measured COVID-19 knowledge as a dependent variable, fact-checking habit as an independent variable, and general science knowledge and negative emotion as moderators. Internet use and several demographic factors were used as control variables. Ordinary least squares (OLS) linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between fact-checking habit and COVID-19 knowledge as a function of science knowledge and negative emotion. Results: Fact-checking habit was negatively associated with COVID-19 knowledge, and the relationship was moderated by general science knowledge and negative emotion. For those with less science knowledge or higher levels of negative emotion, COVID-19 knowledge was lower with the increase of experience in fact-checking. Conclusions: During a pandemic, individuals may not be able to obtain high-quality information, even if they regularly fact-check information, and especially when they lack knowledge about science or are influenced by negative emotion. To promote health knowledge during a public health crisis, basic science literacy must be promoted, and the psychological impact of the crisis on the population must also be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Volume196
Early online date24 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Emotion
  • Fact-checking
  • Knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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