A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

What drives unverified information sharing and cyberchondria during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Open Access publication

Publication Details

Authors: Laato Samuli, Islam Najmul, Islam Nazrul, Whelan Eoin

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Publication year: 2020

Language: English

Related journal or series: European Journal of Information Systems

Volume number: 29

Issue number: 3

Start page: 288

End page: 305

Number of pages: 18

ISSN: 0960-085X

eISSN: 1476-9344

JUFO level of this publication: 3

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0960085X.2020.1770632

Permanent website address: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0960085X.2020.1770632

Social media address: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341994720_What_drives_unverified_information_sharing_and_cyberchondria_during_the_COVID-19_pandemic

Open Access: Open Access publication

Location of the parallel saved publication: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2020102085767


The World Health Organisation has emphasised that misinformation – spreading rapidly through social media – poses a serious threat to the COVID-19 response. Drawing from theories of health perception and cognitive load, we develop and test a research model hypothesising why people share unverified COVID-19 information through social media. Our findings suggest a person’s trust in online information and perceived information overload are strong predictors of unverified information sharing. Furthermore, these factors, along with a person’s perceived COVID-19 severity and vulnerability influence cyberchondria. Females were significantly more likely to suffer from cyberchondria, with males more likely to share news without verifying its reliability. Our findings suggest that to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and cyberchondria, measures should be taken to enhance a healthy scepticism of health news while simultaneously guarding against information overload.

Last updated on 2021-16-03 at 12:47