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“I Try to Find a Balance”: Investigating Strategies for Self-Regulating Covid News Consumption

Zappia, C. & Makri, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-5817-4893 (2022). “I Try to Find a Balance”: Investigating Strategies for Self-Regulating Covid News Consumption. In: Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 85th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 29 Oct - 1 Nov 2022, Pittsburgh, USA. doi: 10.1002/pra2.760


Excessive news consumption during global crises (e.g., through regularly monitoring fast-moving developments), can result in information fatigue and anxiety. Indeed, research has highlighted dangerous risks to mental wellbeing from “over-consumption” of Covid-related news. While prior research has examined how people find Covid-related information and sometimes avoid it to prevent overwhelm, no existing studies have investigated how people leverage information seeking, encountering and avoidance (often in concert) to self-regulate their Covid news consumption. We conducted a two-week diary study and follow-up interviews with 16 people. An inductive Thematic Analysis identified several strategies for self-regulating Covid news consumption: short-term avoidance of all Covid news, selective avoidance (e.g., of news on particular Covid topics), selective consumption of Covid news from particular sources, news perceived to be within one's control, or news likely to be of personal benefit and conscious consumption of Covid news by limiting time spent consuming it, relying on passively encountering (rather than actively seeking) it and consuming it less frequently by returning to pre-pandemic news-browsing routines. An understanding of Covid news self-regulation strategies can help digital platforms that provide crisis-related news better support people in regulating their information consumption more effectively which, in turn, can help safeguard their mental wellbeing.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Author(s) retain copyright, but ASIS&T receives an exclusive publication license. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Zappia, C. & Makri, S. (2022). “I Try to Find a Balance”: Investigating Strategies for Self-Regulating Covid News Consumption. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology 59(1), ISSN 2373-923, which has been published in final form at 1 doi: 10.1002/pra2.760. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Publisher Keywords: COVID-19, information avoidance, information behavior, information encountering, information seeking
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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