Cannot cease checking social media for the newest COVID-19 well being info? You may need to take a break, based on researchers at Penn State and Jinan College who found that extreme use of social media for COVID-19 well being info is expounded to each despair and secondary trauma.
“We discovered that social media use was rewarding up to some extent, because it offered informational, emotional and peer assist associated to COVID-19 well being subjects,” stated Bu Zhong, affiliate professor of journalism, Penn State. “Nonetheless, extreme use of social media led to psychological well being points. The outcomes indicate that taking a social media break might promote well-being through the pandemic, which is essential to mitigating psychological well being hurt inflicted by the pandemic.”
The research, which revealed on-line on Aug. 15 within the journal Computer systems in Human Conduct, included 320 members residing in city districts of Wuhan, China. In February 2020, the group gave the members a web-based survey that investigated how they accessed and shared well being info with members of the family, associates and colleagues on social media, particularly WeChat, China’s hottest social media cell app.
The group used an instrument created to measure Fb habit to evaluate members’ use of WeChat. Utilizing a 5-point Likert-type scale, starting from strongly disagree to strongly agree, the survey assessed members’ views of WeChat in offering them with informational, emotional and peer assist. The survey additionally assessed members’ well being habits modifications because of utilizing social media.
Statements associated to informational assist included, “I take advantage of WeChat to realize details about tips on how to handle the coronavirus epidemic,” and “If I’ve a query or need assistance associated to the coronavirus epidemic, I can often discover the solutions on WeChat.” Statements associated to emotional assist included, “My stress ranges go down whereas I am partaking with others on WeChat,” and “The well being info on WeChat helps me alleviate emotions of loneliness.” Statements associated to see assist included, “I take advantage of WeChat to share sensible recommendation and recommendations about managing the coronavirus epidemic,” and “I’ve used a few of the info I realized from WeChat associates as a part of my administration methods for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.”
The survey additionally investigated members’ well being habits modifications associated to using WeChat, asking them to charge statements equivalent to, “The well being info on WeChat has modified a lot of my well being behaviors, equivalent to however not restricted to carrying face masks, utilizing sanitizer, or washing arms.”
To evaluate despair, the researchers used a 21-item Melancholy Anxiousness Stress Scale through which members rated statements equivalent to, “I could not appear to expertise any constructive feeling in any respect,” and “I felt that life was meaningless.”
In keeping with Zhong, secondary trauma refers back to the behaviors and feelings ensuing from information a few traumatizing occasion skilled by a major different. Utilizing the Secondary Trauma Stress Scale, the researchers requested respondents to charge statements equivalent to, “My coronary heart began pounding after I thought concerning the coronavirus epidemic,” and “I had disturbing desires concerning the coronavirus epidemic.”
“We discovered that the Wuhan residents obtained great informational and peer assist however barely much less emotional assist after they accessed and shared well being details about COVID-on WeChat,” stated Zhong. “The members additionally reported a collection of well being habits modifications, equivalent to elevated hand washing and use of face masks.
Greater than half of the respondents reported some degree of despair, with almost 20% of them struggling reasonable or extreme despair. Among the many respondents who reported secondary trauma, the bulk reported a low (80%) degree of trauma, whereas fewer reported reasonable (13%) and excessive (7%) ranges of trauma. Not one of the members reported having any depressive or traumatic issues earlier than the survey was performed.
“Our outcomes present that social media utilization was associated to each despair and secondary trauma through the early a part of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan,” stated Zhong. “The findings counsel that taking a social media break every so often might assist to enhance individuals’s psychological well-being through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Different authors on the paper embrace Yakun Huang and Qian Liu of Jinan College.