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The up-down-up pandemic news experience: a mixed-method approach to its negative and positive effects on psychological wellbeing.

Nguyen, A., Glück, A. and Jackson, D., 2022. The up-down-up pandemic news experience: a mixed-method approach to its negative and positive effects on psychological wellbeing. Journalism. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1177/14648849221135137


Existing research has documented the dynamics of increased news consumption alongside – paradoxically – increased news avoidance during the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting its adverse effects on mental health and emotional wellbeing. However, for methodological and theoretical reasons, research still lacks specifics on what types of negative psychological responses were directly triggered by pandemic news, how prevalent they were in the population, how they manifested in daily life, and what could be the alternatives to them. Further, the almost exclusive focus on negative effects has led to a relative negligence of the positive sides of pandemic news. This study takes a mixed-method approach to address these gaps, combining 59 interviews and a follow-up survey with a representative sample of 2,015 adults across the UK. We found that pandemic news consumption, driven primarily by the need for personalised surveillance in an uncertain situation, oscillated in parallel with its severity and associated lockdown restrictions. The influx of repetitive bad news triggered many negative feelings besides general pandemic anxiety – namely fear, despair and moral outage (anger and disgust). This led to various alterations of daily routines, including news avoidance. Such adverse effects were offset by the reassurance, happiness and hope that the news did, at least occasionally, brought to audiences during the pandemic. Participants suggested several potential “good news” categories that point to the need for constructive news forms that not only inform but also inspire, motivate and/or empower people in personal or collective ways.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Funded by COJO for COVID-19 Recovery: Constructive Solutions-Focused Journalism as a Pandemic Exit Strategy for the UK's Local/Regional Communities
Uncontrolled Keywords:pandemic news; news avoidance; positive news; constructive news; pandemic news; mental health; emotional effects
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:37651
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:19 Oct 2022 09:42
Last Modified:12 Apr 2023 14:57


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