Sharing News About COVID-19: Media Exposure, Self-Perceived Knowledge, and the Gap of Perceived Susceptibility of Self/Strangers

Yihan Li, Han Fu


This research concerns information sharing during the first outbreak of COVID-19 in China. Back then, Chinese residents heavily relied on the Internet to acquire and disseminate information to connect with the outside because of the forced nation-wide lockdown. This study applies the O-S-O-R model to examine the mechanism from news exposure (S) to news sharing (R) with self-perceived knowledge as the mediator between S and R and the gap of perceived susceptibility of self/strangers as a moderator. An online survey of 517 Chinese college students was conducted. Results show that news exposure is positively related to news sharing, which is mediated by self-perceived knowledge about COVID-19. In addition, participants tend to share COVID-19-related news if they believe that they are more likely to be affected by the virus than strangers, showing that their online sharing behavior is arguably motivated by a pseudoaltruism. These findings contribute to the research on health news effects by applying the O-S-O-R model and supporting its utility in the context of a health crisis.


COVID-19, O-S-O-R model, media exposure, self-perceived knowledge, news sharing, perceived susceptibility

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