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 journalArticlepeer-review

11 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.

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

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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