Self-protection by fact-checking: How pandemic information seeking and verifying affect preventive behaviours

Xinyan Zhao*, Stephanie Jean Tsang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has witnessed the proliferation of a plethora of (mis)information on various media platforms and inconsistent crisis instructions from different sources. People consume crisis information from multiple channels and sources to better understand the situation and fact-check COVID-19 information. This study elucidates how Americans determine their preventive behaviours based on their information seeking and verifying behaviours during the pandemic. Our results were based on a US nationally representative sample (N = 856), and showed that proactive preventive behaviours (e.g., washing hands frequently) were positively affected by information-seeking through interpersonal channels, news media, and the government, whereas avoidance preventive behaviours (e.g., avoiding social gatherings) were only positively affected by information-seeking through news media. Crisis information verifying had positive effects on all types of preventive behaviours. Crisis managers are recommended to reach out to the public using appropriate channels and sources and facilitate individual's ability and motivation in verifying pandemic information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-184
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Issue number2
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • crisis
  • information verifying
  • information seeking
  • perceived risk
  • preventive behaviours


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