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Article

What Drives Elderly People in China Away from COVID-19 Information?

by 1, 2,* and 3
1
Department of Nursing, College of Medicine and Health Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan 430023, China
2
Library and Information Science, School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
3
Psychological Counseling Center, College of Medicine and Health Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan 430023, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9509; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159509
Received: 16 June 2022 / Revised: 20 July 2022 / Accepted: 25 July 2022 / Published: 2 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2nd Edition of Population Behavior during COVID-19)
Background: A worrying phenomenon has emerged in recent years: a growing number of people have stopped seeking coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) information and have started deliberately avoiding it. Even though the virulence of COVID-19 has now weakened, the proportion of severe illnesses and deaths in elderly people is still much higher than in other age groups. However, no study has focused on this topic. This is the first study to explore the level of COVID-19 information avoidance among elderly people, and to identify the barriers and potential factors associated therewith. Methods: Convenience sampling was used to recruit 907 elderly people in Wuhan, China. Data collection measures included a sociodemographic questionnaire, health information avoidance scale, information overload scale, general self-efficacy scale, and health anxiety inventory. Results: A total of 72.3% of elderly participants reported COVID-19 information avoidance. Regarding COVID-19-related information reading habits, 44.5% of the elderly only read the title, 16.0% merely skimmed through the content, and 22.9% skipped all relevant information. The most common reasons for this result were information overload (67.5%), underestimation of the infection risk (58.1%), and uselessness of information (56.4%). The main factors associated with COVID-19 information avoidance were recorded as information overload, age, health anxiety, and children (p < 0.05). Conclusions: China should strengthen its health communication regarding COVID-19 in accordance with the characteristics of elderly people, adopt more attractive publicity methods on traditional media, improve censorship about health information, and pay more attention to the childless elderly and the elderly aged 80 and above. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; elderly people; information avoidance; information overload; health information COVID-19; elderly people; information avoidance; information overload; health information
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gao, X.; Ding, F.; Ai, T. What Drives Elderly People in China Away from COVID-19 Information? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9509. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159509

AMA Style

Gao X, Ding F, Ai T. What Drives Elderly People in China Away from COVID-19 Information? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(15):9509. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159509

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gao, Xudong, Feng Ding, and Ting Ai. 2022. "What Drives Elderly People in China Away from COVID-19 Information?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 15: 9509. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159509

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