The influences of news and social media on food insecurity and hoarding behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic

Charilaou, Lucy and Vijaykumar, Santosh (2021) The influences of news and social media on food insecurity and hoarding behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. ISSN 1935-7893 (In Press)

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To examine how sociodemographic variables and frequency of media consumption affect hoarding behaviour and food insecurity concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A quantitative, non-experimental, correlational online survey was administered using a convenience sample of 203 participants from the United Kingdom with no medical issues that affected buying behaviour during the pandemic to examine perceptions related to food insecurity, and self-reported food hoarding behaviour

Younger adults and lower income groups reported higher food insecurity perceptions and hoarding behaviours. Consuming COVID-19 information from websites was significantly associated with food insecurity perceptions, while information from social media was significantly associated with more food hoarding behaviours.

Younger adults and lower income groups are vulnerable populations from the perspective of food insecurity and hoarding behaviour in times of health disasters like pandemics. While social media can play a positively catalytic role during crises, excessive online information and misinformation can contribute negatively to public panic and feelings of insecurity. Implications for disaster preparedness and future research are discussed.

The findings suggest that age is the main predictor of food insecurity and hoarding behaviour, with younger adults more likely to be affected. They also suggest that people are turning to NHS wesbites, which were deemed more trustworthy than social media, to avoid ‘news fatigue’ and avoiding speculation. Suggestions for future research were made, specifically to examine people’s social support during the pandemic to understand its’ potential link to stockpiling behaviour or food insecurity concerns.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
L900 Others in Social studies
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2021 10:02
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2021 10:15

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