Location

Schewel 208

Access Type

Campus Access Only

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2022

Department

Psychology

Abstract

COVID-19 has made people aware of their own death, referred to as mortality salience. Mortality salience affects behavior. Public health uses reporting to inform the population, and many news reports reference the pandemic’s death toll. The current study investigated the difference in mortality salience between news supporting CDC-recommended guidelines and news opposing CDC guidelines. Initial hypotheses posited that CDC-supported news would influence higher rates of death anxiety. Additionally, non-CDC-supported news would influence lower perceived control of COVID-19. This was a mixed factorial design of 133 students at a small liberal arts university. Survey responses were obtained using Google Forms. Participants were given a death anxiety scale to complete before and after listening to a clip of a CDC-supported or non-CDC-supported report, additionally participants completed a short COVID-19 perceived control scale. The results show no significant difference for mortality salience ratings as well as no significant differences for perceived control of COVID-19 between the two types of news. These results may indicate that a short exposure to news has no meaningful effect in the face of news exposure from the past two years of the pandemic. This provides support for further research in diverse populations, and longer exposures to news.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Ei Hlaing

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Apr 6th, 10:30 AM

Impacts of Biased Scientific COVID-19 News Reporting on Mortality Salience

Schewel 208

COVID-19 has made people aware of their own death, referred to as mortality salience. Mortality salience affects behavior. Public health uses reporting to inform the population, and many news reports reference the pandemic’s death toll. The current study investigated the difference in mortality salience between news supporting CDC-recommended guidelines and news opposing CDC guidelines. Initial hypotheses posited that CDC-supported news would influence higher rates of death anxiety. Additionally, non-CDC-supported news would influence lower perceived control of COVID-19. This was a mixed factorial design of 133 students at a small liberal arts university. Survey responses were obtained using Google Forms. Participants were given a death anxiety scale to complete before and after listening to a clip of a CDC-supported or non-CDC-supported report, additionally participants completed a short COVID-19 perceived control scale. The results show no significant difference for mortality salience ratings as well as no significant differences for perceived control of COVID-19 between the two types of news. These results may indicate that a short exposure to news has no meaningful effect in the face of news exposure from the past two years of the pandemic. This provides support for further research in diverse populations, and longer exposures to news.