From information seeking to information avoidance: understanding the health information behavior during a global health crisis

Saira Hanif Soroya, Ali Farooq, Khalid Mahmood, Jouni Isoaho, Shan-e Zara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

296 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Individuals seek information for informed decision-making, and they consult a variety of information sources nowadays. However, studies show that information from multiple sources can lead to information overload, which then creates negative psychological and behavioral responses. Drawing on the Stimulus-Organism-Response (S-O-R) framework, we propose a model to understand the effect of information seeking, information sources, and information overload (Stimuli) on information anxiety (psychological organism), and consequent behavioral response, information avoidance during the global health crisis (COVID-19). The proposed model was tested using partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) for which data were collected from 321 Finnish adults using an online survey. People found to seek information from traditional sources such as mass media, print media, and online sources such as official websites and websites of newspapers and forums. Social media and personal networks were not the preferred sources. On the other hand, among different information sources, social media exposure has a significant relationship with information overload as well as information anxiety. Besides, information overload also predicted information anxiety, which further resulted in information avoidance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102440
Number of pages16
JournalInformation Processing Management
Volume58
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • information seeking
  • information overload
  • information anxiety
  • information avoidance
  • COVID-19

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