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The COVID-19 Pandemic and Risks in East Asia: Media, Social Reactions, and Theories ; : 62-84, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2120821
Mass Communication Research ; 148:153-196, 2021.
Article in Chinese | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1558948


The COVID-19 pandemic seriously struck the world in early 2020 and has exerted great impacts on every aspect of human life. Whether the disease can be contained or not depends greatly on how well people take preventive measures over an extended period of time. This study thus integrates theories from risk communication and media effects to understand the predictors of preventive measures, with a specific focus on the interplay among media, risk perception, and emotion. Based on a representative, dual-frame telephone survey (N = 1,073), the current study finds that people’s ways of living have changed quite drastically during the pandemic. More than 8 out of 10 Taiwanese expressed wearing face masks (82.9%) and washing hands (83.1%) more frequently than the usual level, while 63.6% of people indicated that they have tried to avoid going out, unless it is necessary, such as going to work or school. More than one-third of Taiwanese had canceled a planned trip (35.7%) and about a quarter are considering to do so (23.0%). Results of regression analyses suggest that risk perception is not directly predictive of people’s preventive behaviors, but it does positively affect behaviors by increasing people’s level of fear, lending support to the “emotion mediation model.” The results also indicate an amplifying effect of television on the relationship between risk perception and fear. Conversely, social media use exerts an attenuating effect that mitigates the impact of risk perception on preventive behaviors. The results extend the applicability of the social amplification of the risk framework from risk perception to subsequent emotional and behavioral responses. Further implications are discussed. © 2021 National Chengchi University. All rights reserved.