Does Party Affiliation Matter? A Moderated Moderation Examining Literacies, Foreign Social Media Use, and Political Affiliation on COVID-19

Xizhu Xiao, Quanchao Li, Mengyuan Wang, Xueping Chang, Xiaowei Liu


As concerns about misinformation have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, abundant research has attempted to understand its patterns and consequences. Although much evidence has demonstrated the benefits of media, health, and science literacy enhancement in combating misinformation, less is known about whether each type of literacy would exert distinctive influences on misperceptions. More importantly, no empirical investigation of this kind has centered on a non-Western context (i.e., China), which has a drastically different media and political landscape compared with the West. With a survey of 720 nationally recruited Chinese citizens, this study shows that although new media literacy carries the most weight in COVID-19-related misperception reduction, the general public would benefit from media-health-science triad literacy curricula. Frequent exposure to foreign social media may confuse and sow misperceptions among highly literate and overconfident individuals. Findings further challenge traditional views of one-party rule and show that ideological differences do exist between party-affiliated members and the general public in influencing their subsequent perceptions and decision making. Future interventions and strategies should be developed based on individuals’ media diet and party affiliation.


media literacy, health literacy, science literacy, COVID-19, political affiliation, social media use, China

Full Text: