HomePsychology and Education: A Multidisciplinary Journalvol. 11 no. 8 (2023)

Infodemic This Pandemic: The Mediating Role of Anxiety in the Relationship Between COVID-19 Information Consumption and Protective Behaviors Among Parents

Dianne Kate Ferranco | Angelica H Mendoza | Dimple Millanes | Catherine Javier

Discipline: Psychology and Health



This quantitative study aimed to determine the role of anxiety as a mediator in the relationship between COVID- 19 information consumption and protective behaviors. The participants are one hundred (100) parents, specifically those who are living with their children and elderly parents or relatives at home around Barangay Darasa, Tanauan City, Batangas. This study utilized a cross-sectional explanatory research design and used researcher-made questionnaires for data collection. The results of the study revealed that the parents often engage in information consumption, always employ protective behaviors, and strongly agree that they feel symptoms of anxiety. Also, findings revealed that there was a significant positive relationship between information consumption and protective behavior. In mediation analysis, anxiety partially mediated the relationship between information consumption and protective behaviors. The researchers concluded that parents had high anxiety because of the threat of COVID-19. They worry about the situation as well as their family’s health, which leads them to search for information about how to prevent the virus and protect themselves. The higher the uncertainty, the more they become anxious, which leads to engaging in information consumption and employing protective behaviors.


  1. Heggeness, M., & Fields, J. (2020). Parents juggle work and child care during pandemic. The United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/ library/stories/2020/08/parents-juggle-work-and- child-care-during-pan demic.html
  2. Miocˇevic´, M., & MacKinnon, D. (2018). (Vols. 1-4). SAGE Publications, Inc., https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506326139
  3. Abd-Alrazaq, A., Alhuwail, D., Househ, M., Hamdi, M., & Shah, Z. (2020). Top concerns of tweeters during the COVID-19 pandemic: Infoveillance study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(4), e19016. https://doi.org/10.2196/19016
  4. Ahorsu, D.K., Lin, C.Y., Imani, V. et al. The Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Development and Initial Validation. Mental Health Addiction (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-020-00270-8
  5. Allington, D., Duffy, B., Wessely, S., Dhavan, N., & Rubin, J. (2021). Health- protective behaviour, social media usage and conspiracy belief during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Psychological Medicine, 51(10), 1763- 1769. doi:10.1017/S003329172000224X
  6. Antwerpen, N., Turnbull, D., & Searston, R. A. (2022). The role of anxiety in mediating the relationship between information consumption and COVID-19 protective behaviours. Psychology, health & medicine, 27(9), 2043–2056. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2021.2008994
  7. Brown, S. M., Doom, J. R., Lechuga-Peña, S., Watamura, S. E., & Koppels, T. (2020). Stress and parenting during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Child abuse & neglect, 110, 104699.
  8. Chao, M., Xue, D., Liu, T., Yang, H., & Hall, B. J. (2020). Media use and acute psychological outcomes during COVID-19 outbreak in China. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 74, 102248.
  9. Dang, H.L. (2021). Social media, fake news, and the COVID-19 pandemic: Sketching the case of Southeast Asia. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies. https://aseas.univie.ac.at/index.php/aseas/article/view /3930
  10. Dohle, S., Wingen, T., & Schreiber, M. (2020). Acceptance and adoption of protective measures during the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of trust in politics and trust in science. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/w52nv
  11. Ezati Rad, R., Mohseni, S., Kamalzadeh Takhti, H., Hassani Azad, M., Shahabi, N., Aghamolaei, T., & Norozian, F. (2021). Application of the protection motivation theory for predicting COVID-19 preventive behaviors in Hormozgan, Iran: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10500-w
  12. Fegert, J. M., Vitiello, B., Plener, P. L., & Clemens, V. (2020). Challenges and burden of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic for child and adolescent mental health: A narrative review to highlight clinical and research needs in the acute phase and the long return to normality. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 14(1). https://doi.org/ 10.1186/s13034-020-00329-3
  13. Galido, A., Ecleo, J. J., Husnayain, A., & Chia-Yu Su, E. (2021). Exploring online search behavior for COVID-19 preventive measures: The Philippine case. PLOS ONE,16(4), e0249810. https://doi.org/10.1371/ journal.pone.0249810
  14. Garfin, D. R., Silver, R. C., & Holman, E. A. (2020). The novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak: Amplification of public health consequences by media exposure. Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 39(5), 355–357. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000875
  15. Islam, S., Sarkar, T., Khan, S. H., Kamal, A. H. M., Hasan, S. S., Kabir, A., Yeasmin, D., Islam, M. T., Chowdhury, K., Anwar, K. S., Chughtai, A. A., & Seale, H. (2020). COVID-19–Related Infodemic and Its Impact on Public Health: A Global Social Media Analysis. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 103(4), 1621–1629. https://doi.org /10.4269/ajtmh.20-0812
  16. Janmaimool P. Application of Protection Motivation Theory to investigate sustainable waste management behaviors. Sustainability.  2017;9(7):1 079. doi:10.3390/su9071079
  17. Jiow, H. J., Mwagwabi, F., & Low-Lim, A. (2021). Effectiveness of protection motivation theory based: Password hygiene training programme for youth media literacy education. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 13(1), 67-78. https://doi.org/10.23860/jmle-2021-13-1-6
  18. Khosravi, M. (2020). Perceived Risk of COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Public Worry and Trust. Electronic Journal of General Medicine, 17(4), em203. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejgm/7856
  19. Kim, S., Capasso, A., Cook, S. H., Ali, S. H., Jones, A. M., Foreman, J., DiClemente, R. J., & Tozan, Y. (2021). Impact of COVID-19-related knowledge on protective behaviors: The moderating role of primary sources of information. PLOS ONE, 16(11), e0260643. https://doi.org /10.1371/journal.pone.0260643
  20. Laato, S., Islam, A. N., Islam, M. N., & Whelan, E. (2020). What drives unverified information sharing and cyberchondria during the COVID-19 pandemic? European journal of information systems, 29(3), 288-305
  21. Lau, L. L., Hung, N., Go, D. J., Ferma, J., Choi, M., Dodd, W., & Wei, X. (2020). Knowledge, attitudes and practices of COVID-19 among income-poor households in the Philippines: A cross-sectional study. Journal of global health, 10(1), 011007. https://doi.org/10.7189 /jogh.10.011007
  22. Lee, M., Kang, B., & You, M. (2020). Association between knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) towards the COVID-19: A cross-sectional study in South Korea. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-73653/v1                                       
  23. Lencucha, R., & Bandara, S. (2021). Trust, risk, and the challenge of information sharing during a health emergency. Globalization and Health, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-021-00673-9
  24. Liu, J., & Ulrich, C. (2016). Mediation analysis in nursing research: a methodological review. Contemporary nurse, 52(6), 643–656. https://doi.org/10.1080/10376178.2015.1041999
  25. Mækelæ, M. J., Reggev, N., Dutra, N., Tamayo, R. M., Silva-Sobrinho, R. A., Klevjer, K., & Pfuhl, G. (2020). Perceived efficacy of COVID-19 restrictions, reactions and their impact on mental health during the early phase of the outbreak in six countries. Royal Society Open Science, 7(8), 200644. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.200644
  26. Marzo, R., Villanueva III, E. Q., Chandra, U., Htay, M. N. N., Shrestha, R., & Shrestha, S. (2021). Risk perception, mental health impacts and coping strategies during COVID-19 pandemic among Filipino healthcare workers. Journal of Public Health Research, 10(s2). https://doi. org/10.4081/jphr.2021.2604
  27. McCaffery, K. J., Dodd, R. H., Cvejic, E., Ayrek, J., Batcup, C., Isautier, J. M., Copp, T., Bonner, C., Pickles, K., Nickel, B., Dakin, T., Cornell, S., & Wolf, M. S. (2020). Health literacy and disparities in COVID-19-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours in Australia. Public health research & practice, 30(4)30342012. https://doi.org/10.17061 /phrp30342012
  28. Mertens, G., Gerritsen, L., Duijndam, S., Salemink, E., & Engelhard, I. M. (2020). Fear of the coronavirus (COVID-19): Predictors in an online study conducted in March 2020. Journal of anxiety disorders, 74, 102258.
  29. Morganstein, J. C., & Ursano, R. J. (2020). Ecological Disasters and Mental Health: Causes, Consequences, and Interventions. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 1. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00001
  30. Parikh, P. A., Shah, B. V., Phatak, A. G., Vadnerkar, A. C., Uttekar, S., Thacker, N., & Nimbalkar, S. M. (2020). COVID-19 Pandemic: Knowledge and Perceptions of the Public and Healthcare Professionals. Cureus, 12(5), e8144. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.8144
  31. Patrick, S. W., Henkhaus, L. E., Zickafoose, J. S., Lovell, K., Halvorson, A., Loch, S., & Davis, M. (2020). Well-being of parents and children during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey. Pediatrics, 146(4).
  32. Racine, N., Cooke, J. E., Eirich, R., Korczak, D. J., McArthur, B., & Madigan, S. (2020). Child and adolescent mental illness during COVID-19: A rapid review. Psychiatry research, 292, 113307.
  33. Reuben, R. C., Danladi, M. M. A., Saleh, D. A., & Ejembi, P. E. (2021). Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Towards COVID-19: An Epidemiological Survey in North-Central Nigeria. Journal of community health, 46(3), 457–470. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00881-1
  34. Sanchez, M.J. (2019). Market share of search engines in the Philippines. 2019;06,18. https://www.statista.com/statistics/954885/philippines-market-share-o-search-engines/.
  35. Schimmenti, A., Billieux, J., & Starcevic, V. (2020). The four horsemen of fear: An integrated model of understanding fear experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical Neuropsychiatry: Journal of Treatment Evaluation, 17(2), 41–45.
  36. Shahsavari, S., Holur, P., Wang, T., Tangherlini, T. R., & Roychowdhury, V. (2020). Conspiracy in the time of corona: Automatic detection of emerging COVID-19 conspiracy theories in social media and the news. Journal of computational social science, 3(2), 279-317.
  37. Superio, D. L., Anderson, K. L., Oducado, R., Luceño, M. T., Palcullo, V., & Bendalian, M. (2021). The information-seeking behavior and levels of knowledge, precaution, and fear of college students in Iloilo, Philippines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. International journal of disaster risk reduction: IJDRR, 62, 102414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr. 2021.102414
  38. Talidong, K., & Toquero, C., (2020). Philippine Teachers’ Practices to Deal with Anxiety amid COVID-19. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 25:6-7, 573- 579. DOI: 10.1080/15325024.2020.1759225
  39. Tang, C., Chen, H., & Wu, W. (2021). Factors influencing the protective behavior of individuals during COVID-19: A transnational survey. Scientific Reports, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01239-w
  40. Taylor S., Landry C.A., Paluszek M.M., Fergus T.A., McKay D., & Asmundson G.J.G. (2020). Development and initial validation of the COVID Stress Scales, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Volume 72, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102232
  41. Tee M, Wang C, Tee C, Pan R, Reyes PW, Wan X, Anlacan J, Tan Y, Xu L, Harijanto C, Kuruchittham V, Ho C & Ho R (2021) Impact of the COVID- 19 Pandemic on Physical and Mental Health in Lower and Upper Middle- Income Asian Countries: A Comparison Between the Philippines and China. Front. Psychiatry 11:568929. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.568929
  42. Tworek, H., Beacock, I., & Oji, E. (2020). New research on pandemic communications from nine democracies reveals pioneering methods for reaching citizens and supporting public health.
  43. Wang C., López-Núñez M., Pan R., Wan X., Tan Y., Xu L., Choo F., Ho R., Ho C., & Aparicio García M. (2021). The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical and Mental Health in China and Spain: Cross-sectional Study. JMIR Form Res 2021;5(5): e27818
  44. Wang, C., Pan, R., Wan, X., Tan, Y., Xu, L., Ho, C. S., & Ho, R. C. (2020). Immediate psychological responses and associated factors during the initial stage of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic among the general population in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,17(5),1729. https:// doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051729
  45. Westcott, R., Ronan, K., Bambrick, H. et al. Expanding protection motivation theory: investigating an application to animal owners and emergency responders in bushfire emergencies. BMC Psychol 5,13 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-017-0182-3
  46. Wise, T., Zbozinek, T. D., Michelini, G., Hagan, C. C., & Mobbs, D. (2020). Changes in risk perception and self-reported protective behaviour during the first week of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Royal Society open science, 7(9), 200742.
  47. Wong F, Liu T, Leung D, Zhang A, Au W, Kwok W, Shum A, Wong G, Lum T. (2021). Consuming Information Related to COVID-19 on Social Media Among Older Adults and Its Association with Anxiety, Social Trust in Information, and COVID-Safe Behaviors. DOI:10.2196/26570
  48. Zhong, B. L., Luo, W., Li, H. M., Zhang, Q. Q., Liu, X. G., Li, W. T., & Li, Y. (2020). Knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards COVID-19 among Chinese residents during the rapid rise period of the COVID-19 outbreak: a quick online cross-sectional survey. International journal of biological sciences, 16(10), 1745–1752. https://doi.org/10.7150/ ijbs.45221
  49. Zickfeld, J., Schubert, T. W., Herting, A. K., Grahe, J. E., & Faasse, K. (2020). Correlates of health-protective behavior during the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Norway. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/6vgf
  50. Zaki M, Devane D, Conway T Et al. Battling the COVID-19 Infodemic in An Irish Context: The Role of iHealthFacts [version 1; peer review: 2 approved]. HRB Open Res 2020, 3:81 (https://doi.org/10.12688/ hrbopenres.13174.1)
  51. AFP Philippines. (2020, April 20). Philippine regulators deny the supplement is approved and warn against ‘deceptive marketing’ related to COVID-19. AFP fact-check. https://factcheck.afp.com/philippineregulators-deny-supplement-approved-and-warn-against-deceptive-marketing-related-COVID-19
  52. Cole, N.L. (2017). Understanding purposive sampling: An Overview of the method and its applications. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind. com/what-is-conformity-2795889.
  53. CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. (2020). Fighting the infodemic: The #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. https://www.poynter.org/coronavirusfacts alliance/.
  54. Fighting misinformation in the time of COVID-19, one clicks at a time. (2021, April 27).  WHO World Health Organization. https://www.who. int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/fighting-misinformation-in-the-time-of-covid-19-one-click-at-a-time
  55. Montano, R. L. T., & Acebes, K. M. L. (2020). Covid stress predicts depression, anxiety and stress symptoms of Filipino respondents. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147- 4478), 9(4), 78–103. https://doi.org/10.20525/ijrbs.v9i4.773
  56. Pousadela, I. (2020). Access to Information During a Pandemic – A Matter of Life or Death. Just Security. https://www.justsecurity.org/72557/ access-to-information-during-a-pandemic-a-matter-of-life-or-death/
  57. Sokolov, M. (2020, March 3). The pandemic infodemic: how social media helps (and hurts) during the coronavirus outbreak. The Drum. https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2020/03/03/the-pandemic-infodemic- how-social-media-helps-and-hurts-during-the-coronavirus
  58. Tworek, H., Beacock, I., & Oji, E. (2020). New research on pandemic communications from nine democracies reveals pioneering methods for reaching citizens and supporting public health. https://policyoptions.irpp.org/fr/magazines/november-2020/what-we-can-learn-from-covid-communications-in-other-countries/
  59. Varcas, M. (2021). Coronavirus takes its toll on mental health as Filipinos battle stress, anxiety. Philippine Star. https://www.bworldonline.com/ coronavirus-takes-its-toll-on-mental-health-as-filipinos-battle-stress-anxiety/
  60. World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters. 2020. Viewed on June, 30.