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“Do we really have to talk about that?”: avoiding covid-19 topics with close contacts

Tengku Mohd Azzman, Tengku Siti Aisha and A. Manaf, Aini Maznina and Syed Zainuddin, Sharifah Sofiah (2022) “Do we really have to talk about that?”: avoiding covid-19 topics with close contacts. In: 28th AMIC Annual Conference, November - December 2021, Virtual.

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As COVID-19 spread globally in 2020, it caused panic and uncertainty. As of September 2021, there were 1.9 million confirmed cases in Malaysia, with over 20,000 deaths (WHO, 2021). Government officials, front liners and health agencies worked tirelessly to manage the pandemic, by spreading awareness, enforcing SOP, and encouraging vaccination. Paramount during this period was dissemination of accurate and updated information about COIVD-19, whether through mediated or interpersonal platforms. Close contacts have a responsibility in making sure they disclose their health status to others and get tested to ensure that the infection does not spread in their local communities. Avoiding honest disclosures of COVID-19 status could be detrimental to others. Accordingly, this study will examine how individuals interact with close contacts and choose to avoid topics related to COVID-19, from the perspective of Theory of Motivated Information Management (TMIM). TMIM has been applied in various health contexts to understand information avoidance, including avoiding conversations on end-of-life preferences with spouses (Rafferty et al., 2014), or sexual health topics with romantic partners (Tannebaum, 2015). In this study, we explore factors that could influence COVID-19 information avoidance, such as anxiety, uncertainty discrepancy, outcome expectancy, and close contact’s target efficacy. Using a cross-sectional survey among young adults in Malaysia, an online survey was distributed among the respondents (N = 483). Overall, two hypotheses were not supported; anxiety is not significantly related to outcome expectancy or target efficacy. Target efficacy also mediates the relationship between outcome expectancy and information avoidance. The repercussion of these findings on TMIM, as well as factors that may influence health information management will be discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Close contacts, COVID-19, health communication, information avoidance, theory of motivated information management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General) > H61.8 Communication of information
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences
Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of Communication
Depositing User: Dr Tengku Siti Aisha Tengku Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen
Date Deposited: 11 May 2022 08:35
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 09:37
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/97839

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