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Guidance in the chaos: Effects of science communication by virologists during the COVID-19 crisis in Germany and the role of parasocial phenomena.
Utz, Sonja; Gaiser, Franziska; Wolfers, Lara N.
  • Utz S; Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Germany.
  • Gaiser F; University of Tübingen, Germany.
Public Underst Sci ; 31(6): 799-817, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854657
ABSTRACT
During the COVID-19 pandemic, virologists gained a prominent role in traditional and social media in Germany; several participated in regular podcasts. Using a two-wave survey (n = 696/361 at Time 1/2), we explore which impact the strong media presence of virologists had on media users and what role parasocial phenomena (asymmetric interactions and relationships with virologists) played. People who favored a specific virologist scored higher on various cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. Exposure to the virologist was related to these outcomes and parasocial phenomena turned out as an intervening variable between exposure and subjective and objective knowledge (time 1), solace, and behavioral engagement (both times). We did not, however, find effects over time when controlling for the time 1 values, which rather speak against more long-term media effects. A higher need for leadership also predicted the formation of parasocial phenomena. We discuss the theoretical implications for the role of parasocial phenomena in science communication via digital media.
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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: Social Media / COVID-19 Type of study: Experimental Studies / Observational study / Prognostic study Limits: Humans Country/Region as subject: Europa Language: English Journal: Public Underst Sci Journal subject: Science / History of Medicine Year: 2022 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: 09636625221093194

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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: Social Media / COVID-19 Type of study: Experimental Studies / Observational study / Prognostic study Limits: Humans Country/Region as subject: Europa Language: English Journal: Public Underst Sci Journal subject: Science / History of Medicine Year: 2022 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: 09636625221093194