Cannot cease checking social media for the newest COVID-19 well being info? You would possibly wish to take a break, in response to researchers at Penn State and Jinan College who found that extreme use of social media for COVID-19 well being info is said to each melancholy and secondary trauma.
“We discovered that social media use was rewarding up to a degree, because it offered informational, emotional and peer assist associated to COVID-19 well being matters,” stated Bu Zhong, affiliate professor of journalism, Penn State. “Nevertheless, extreme use of social media led to psychological well being points. The outcomes indicate that taking a social media break could promote well-being throughout the pandemic, which is essential to mitigating psychological well being hurt inflicted by the pandemic.”
The research, which revealed on-line on Aug. 15 within the journal Computer systems in Human Habits, included 320 individuals dwelling in city districts of Wuhan, China. In February 2020, the group gave the individuals an internet survey that investigated how they accessed and shared well being info with relations, mates and colleagues on social media, particularly WeChat, China’s hottest social media cellular app.
The group used an instrument created to measure Fb habit to evaluate individuals’ use of WeChat. Utilizing a 5-point Likert-type scale, starting from strongly disagree to strongly agree, the survey assessed individuals’ views of WeChat in offering them with informational, emotional and peer assist. The survey additionally assessed individuals’ well being habits modifications because of utilizing social media.
Statements associated to informational assist included, “I take advantage of WeChat to realize details about how one can handle the coronavirus epidemic,” and “If I’ve a query or need assistance associated to the coronavirus epidemic, I can often discover the solutions on WeChat.” Statements associated to emotional assist included, “My stress ranges go down whereas I am partaking with others on WeChat,” and “The well being info on WeChat helps me alleviate emotions of loneliness.” Statements associated to see assist included, “I take advantage of WeChat to share sensible recommendation and ideas about managing the coronavirus epidemic,” and “I’ve used a few of the info I discovered from WeChat mates as a part of my administration methods for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.”
The survey additionally investigated individuals’ well being habits modifications associated to using WeChat, asking them to fee statements reminiscent of, “The well being info on WeChat has modified a lot of my well being behaviors, reminiscent of however not restricted to carrying face masks, utilizing sanitizer, or washing arms.”
To evaluate melancholy, the researchers used a 21-item Melancholy Nervousness Stress Scale by which individuals rated statements reminiscent of, “I could not appear to expertise any optimistic feeling in any respect,” and “I felt that life was meaningless.”
In keeping with Zhong, secondary trauma refers back to the behaviors and feelings ensuing from information a few traumatizing occasion skilled by a major different. Utilizing the Secondary Trauma Stress Scale, the researchers requested respondents to fee statements reminiscent of, “My coronary heart began pounding once I thought concerning the coronavirus epidemic,” and “I had disturbing goals concerning the coronavirus epidemic.”
“We discovered that the Wuhan residents obtained great informational and peer assist however barely much less emotional assist after they accessed and shared well being details about COVID-on WeChat,” stated Zhong. “The individuals additionally reported a collection of well being habits modifications, reminiscent of elevated hand washing and use of face masks.
Greater than half of the respondents reported some stage of melancholy, with practically 20% of them struggling average or extreme melancholy. Among the many respondents who reported secondary trauma, the bulk reported a low (80%) stage of trauma, whereas fewer reported average (13%) and excessive (7%) ranges of trauma. Not one of the individuals reported having any depressive or traumatic issues earlier than the survey was performed.
“Our outcomes present that social media utilization was associated to each melancholy and secondary trauma throughout the early a part of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan,” stated Zhong. “The findings counsel that taking a social media break on occasion could assist to enhance folks’s psychological well-being throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Different authors on the paper embrace Yakun Huang and Qian Liu of Jinan College.