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      The Roles of Worry, Social Media Information Overload, and Social Media Fatigue in Hindering Health Fact-Checking

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      Social Media + Society
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Health misinformation has become a salient issue on social media. To lower the risk of health misinformation, fact-checking matters. However, most existing studies investigated fact-checking from the journalism angle, while little is known about how information-seekers’ social media use affects their fact-checking behaviors. Also, it remains unclear how individuals’ health worry is associated with health fact-checking. Based on the O-S-O-R model, this study explored the underlying mechanism through which health worry and social media might hinder users’ fact-checking. Specifically, with a two-wave panel survey conducted in China during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study showed that individuals’ worry about COVID-19 increased social media information overload, which resulted in social media fatigue that could reduce health fact-checking. Also, the direct relationship between worry and fact-checking was not significant, but was completely mediated by social media information overload and social media fatigue. The findings demonstrate the negative roles of worry and social media in inhibiting users’ fact-checking behaviors. Important theoretical and practical implications for promoting effective fact-checking are discussed.

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          Most cited references69

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          Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives

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            A Protection Motivation Theory of Fear Appeals and Attitude Change1

            A protection motivation theory is proposed that postulates the three crucial components of a fear appeal to be (a) the magnitude of noxiousness of a depicted event; (b) the probability of that event's occurrence; and (c) the efficacy of a protective response. Each of these communication variables initiates corresponding cognitive appraisal processes that mediate attitude change. The proposed conceptualization is a special case of a more comprehensive theoretical schema: expectancy-value theories. Several suggestions are offered for reinterpreting existing data, designing new types of empirical research, and making future studies more comparable. Finally, the principal advantages of protection motivation theory over the rival formulations of Janis and Leventhal are discussed.
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              Risk as feelings.

              Virtually all current theories of choice under risk or uncertainty are cognitive and consequentialist. They assume that people assess the desirability and likelihood of possible outcomes of choice alternatives and integrate this information through some type of expectation-based calculus to arrive at a decision. The authors propose an alternative theoretical perspective, the risk-as-feelings hypothesis, that highlights the role of affect experienced at the moment of decision making. Drawing on research from clinical, physiological, and other subfields of psychology, they show that emotional reactions to risky situations often diverge from cognitive assessments of those risks. When such divergence occurs, emotional reactions often drive behavior. The risk-as-feelings hypothesis is shown to explain a wide range of phenomena that have resisted interpretation in cognitive-consequentialist terms.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Social Media + Society
                Social Media + Society
                SAGE Publications
                2056-3051
                2056-3051
                July 2022
                July 18 2022
                July 2022
                : 8
                : 3
                : 205630512211130
                Affiliations
                [1 ]National University of Singapore, Singapore
                Article
                10.1177/20563051221113070
                2b54d714-cbe5-45ec-bccf-f9d621cc2cd3
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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