COVID-19 News Exposure and Vaccinations: A Moderated Mediation of Digital News Literacy Behavior and Vaccine Misperceptions

Yuanyuan Wu, Ozan Kuru, Dam Hee Kim, Seongcheol Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Being exposed to and believing in misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is a challenge for vaccine acceptance. Yet, how countervailing factors such as news literacy could complicate “the information exposure—belief in vaccine misinformation—vaccination” path needs to be unpacked to understand the communication of scientific information about COVID-19. This study examines (1) the mediating role of belief in vaccine misinformation between COVID-19 information exposure and vaccination behavior and (2) the moderating role of news literacy behaviors. We examine these relationships by collecting data in two distinct societies: the United States and South Korea. We conducted online surveys in June and September 2021 respectively for each country (N = 1336 [the U.S.]; N = 550 [South Korea]). Our results showed a significant moderated mediation model, in which the association between digital media reliance and COVID-19 vaccination was mediated through vaccine misperceptions, and the relationship between digital media reliance and misinformed belief was further moderated by news literacy behavior. Unexpectedly, we found that individuals with stronger news literacy behavior were more susceptible to misinformation belief. This study contributes to the extant literature on the communication of COVID-19 science through probing into the mediating role of belief in vaccine-related misinformation and the moderating role of news literacy behavior in relation to COVID-19 information exposure and vaccination behaviors. It also reflects the concept of news literacy behavior and discusses how it could be further refined to exert its positive impact in correcting misinformation beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number891
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19 vaccines
  • digital media
  • misinformation
  • news exposure
  • news literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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