News/Entertainment Social Media Engagement and Social Media Health Literacy: Effects on Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 Lockdown

Alyaa Anter 1 *
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1 College of Mass Communication, Ajman University, Ajman, UAE
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 12, Issue 4, Article No: e202244. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/12615
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ABSTRACT

This study examined the effects of news engagement (NE) vs. entertainment engagement (EE), and of social media health literacy (SMHL) on mental health and coping during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Further, it investigated the moderating effect of SMHL between NE, EE, mental health, and coping relations. The study is drawing on mood management theory and stress- coping theory and is based on a cross-sectional online survey of 478 participants aged 18 years and older. Moderated multiple regression and path analyses were used; the results indicated that both NE and EE predicted a significant increase in anxiety and depression and increased the participants’ online and offline coping. While SMHL predicted a substantial decrease in anxiety and depression, with an increase in online and offline coping. SMHL significantly moderated (weakened) the relations between NE and both anxiety and depression. Online coping significantly mediated the relations between both NE and EE and offline coping. This study proposes that EE has less effect on anxiety and depression than NE does. Findings support that online coping is an important factor in understanding the relationship between genre-specific social media engagement and offline coping in health crises. SMHL is a crucial moderator for managing the effects of NE on mental health. The study recommends algorithmic awareness as an item of SMHL and rationalization of social media use as a crucial coping mechanism.

CITATION

Anter, A. (2022). News/Entertainment Social Media Engagement and Social Media Health Literacy: Effects on Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 Lockdown. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 12(4), e202244. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/12615

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