Cyberchondria, fear of COVID-19, and risk perception mediate the association between problematic social media use and intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Daniel Kwasi AHORSU, Chung-Ying LIN, Zainab ALIMORADI, Mark D. GRIFFITHS, Hsin-Pao CHEN, Anders BROSTRÖM, Toomas TIMPKA, Amir H. PAKPOUR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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. Copyright © 2022 by the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
JournalVaccines
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Citation

Ahorsu, D. K., Lin, C.-Y., Alimoradi, Z., Griffiths, M. D., Chen, H.-P., Broström, A., . . . Pakpour, A. H. (2022). Cyberchondria, fear of COVID-19, and risk perception mediate the association between problematic social media use and intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines, 10(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10010122

Keywords

  • Vaccination
  • COVID-19
  • Cyberchondria
  • Fear of COVID-19
  • Risk perception
  • Problematic social media use
  • Intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine

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