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How Informed are the Swiss about Covid-19 and Prevention Measures? : Results of a Survey on Information Awareness, Behaviour, and Deficits


Kessler, Sabrina Heike; Cano Pardo, Miriam Sara; Jobin, Anna; Georgi, Fanny (2022). How Informed are the Swiss about Covid-19 and Prevention Measures? : Results of a Survey on Information Awareness, Behaviour, and Deficits. European Journal of Health Communication, 3(3):118-142.

Abstract

Since the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic began, large amounts of (mis)information have been disseminated worldwide. We conducted an online survey in Switzerland (N = 1,129) in April 2021 to ask respondents which information has received too little attention in public discourse, which measures help containing coronavirus infection and Covid-19, and about subjectively perceived Covid-19 misinformation. Content analysis of the open answers revealed that vaccination and its potential side effects, aspects related to political measures, psychological and social aspects, as well as science and research topics deserved more attention in the eyes of the respondents, mostly from politics or media. The most frequently mentioned effective measures were social distancing, wearing masks, general hygiene, and vaccination. Notably, the number of measures mentioned was related to the degree to which the pandemic affected individuals subjectively, trust in public institutions, and their individual level of science-related populism. Swiss residents with less trust in public institutions and who consume less news media on Covid-19 are more likely to believe misinformation on (in)effective measures against the virus. Most respondents encountered Covid-19 misinformation and could name examples, including sources. Education and information use affect the frequency of subjectively encountered misinformation. More highly educated people can name more misinformation instances encountered than less educated people.

Abstract

Since the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic began, large amounts of (mis)information have been disseminated worldwide. We conducted an online survey in Switzerland (N = 1,129) in April 2021 to ask respondents which information has received too little attention in public discourse, which measures help containing coronavirus infection and Covid-19, and about subjectively perceived Covid-19 misinformation. Content analysis of the open answers revealed that vaccination and its potential side effects, aspects related to political measures, psychological and social aspects, as well as science and research topics deserved more attention in the eyes of the respondents, mostly from politics or media. The most frequently mentioned effective measures were social distancing, wearing masks, general hygiene, and vaccination. Notably, the number of measures mentioned was related to the degree to which the pandemic affected individuals subjectively, trust in public institutions, and their individual level of science-related populism. Swiss residents with less trust in public institutions and who consume less news media on Covid-19 are more likely to believe misinformation on (in)effective measures against the virus. Most respondents encountered Covid-19 misinformation and could name examples, including sources. Education and information use affect the frequency of subjectively encountered misinformation. More highly educated people can name more misinformation instances encountered than less educated people.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Medicine
Language:English
Date:26 October 2022
Deposited On:29 Nov 2022 06:55
Last Modified:29 Nov 2022 06:55
Publisher:University of Zurich
ISSN:2673-5903
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.47368/ejhc.2022.306
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)