Assessing Mechanisms Underlying the Sharing of Official and Unofficial Information during a Pandemic

Stephanie Jean Tsang*, Xinyan Zhao, Yi-Ru Regina Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 disease outbreak has seen mixed information flows comprising top-down communication from health authorities to the public and citizen-to-citizen communication. This study aimed to identify mechanisms underlying the sharing of official versus unofficial information during the outbreak. Survey findings based on a nationally representative U.S. sample (N = 856) showed that individuals’ predispositions affected their information consumption and affective experiences, leading to distinct types of information-sharing behaviors. While anger toward the U.S. government’s outbreak response was directly associated with unofficial information sharing, anxiety was directly associated with official information sharing. These findings enhance our understanding of the propagation of different kinds of pandemic information and provide implications for public education on information verification based on source authoritativeness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13298
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

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

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Information sharing
  • Political orientation
  • Unofficial information


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