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Assessment of information overload of COVID-19 in the general public


Sha'aban, A and Mohammed, M and Jatau Abubakar, I and Yunusa, I and Isa, AM and Wada, AS and Obamiro, KO and Ibrahim, B, Assessment of information overload of COVID-19 in the general public, 3rd International Conference of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Proceedings, 27 - 28 October 2020, Online, pp. 67. (2020) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Background: The overwhelming information about the coronavirus pandemic often makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction and rumour from deliberate efforts to mislead. People may find it difficult to understand and utilise genuine information from many sources simultaneously. In this pandemic situation, the general public may be at high risk of experiencing information overload on COVID-19, due to the frequent information in circulation. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate COVID-19 information overload (COVIO) among the general public.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional online survey using Google Forms . A hyperlink to the online questionnaire was shared with members of the general public via social media. The questionnaire consists of two sections. The first section covered the socio-demographic information of the respondents while the second section comprised of items measuring the covid-19 information overload.

Results: The total number of respondents was 579. The mean (standard deviation) age was 33 (8.7) years. The respondents were mostly females, 335 (57.9%) and married, 302 (52.2%). The commonest educational level attained by the respondents was postgraduate, 316 (54.6%). Most of the respondents are on full-time work, 280 (48.4%) and majority are on non-health related jobs, 302 (52.2%). Most respondents receive COVID-19 information from a combination of social media and broadcast media 372 (64.2%). The information was mostly solicited 316 (54.6%) and received daily 369 (63.7%). The mean (SD) COVIO score was 19.40 (4.12%). Among the eight items of the COVIO tool, three items showed higher tendency for COVIO. Majority of the respondents agreed that "information about COVID-19 all starts to sound the same after a while" 426 (73.6).

Conclusions: The findings from this study demonstrated that COVIO is a common phenomenon experienced in the general public. This necessitates a call for awareness and orientation on the best information seeking behaviours to avert being overloaded with especially wrong information.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:COVID 19, information overload, health literacy
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Health equity
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Health status (incl. wellbeing)
UTAS Author:Jatau Abubakar, I (Mr Ibrahim Jatau Abubakar)
UTAS Author:Obamiro, KO (Dr Kehinde Obamiro)
ID Code:150490
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2022-06-17
Last Modified:2022-09-09

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