The Mediating Role of Depression in the Relationship Between News Consumption and Interparty Hostility During Covid-19
This article examines the association between different kinds of news consumption and interparty hostility and how this relationship is mediated by individuals’ levels of depression during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a study conducted in the United States, we found a significant correlation between consumption of news and feelings of depression that was mediated by political ideology: Conservatives who consume news from CNN, MSNBC, national network TV news, and social media reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than did Liberals. Depressive symptoms, in turn, were associated with increased hatred and intolerance toward ordinary members of a political out-group. We show that depression, catalyzed by news consumption, is a fundamental factor that could explain the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for levels of animosity among ideological groups.