Psychiatry Investig.  2021 Sep;18(9):825-830. 10.30773/pi.2021.0087.

Factors Associated With a Negative Emotional Response to News Media and Nationwide Emergency Text Alerts During the COVID-19 Outbreak in Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
  • 2Gwang-ju Mental Health Commission, Gwangju, Republic of Korea


To prevent the spread of infection in Korea during the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, real-time warnings have been sent to all residents via mobile phones. This study examined the factors associated with the negative emotional response to media news and emergency text alerts in the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey was completed by 1,500 adults from an online public panel in three regions. We used Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), generalized anxiety disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Perceived Stress Scale-10 (PSS-10) to assess the level of depression, anxiety and stress, respectively. Questionnaires related to COVID-19 included fear of infection, and fear of disclose of contact-tracing information.
The negative emotional response on both news media information and emergency alert text messages about COVID-19 was associated with fear of COVID-19 infection and high anxiety. The biggest outbreak city, Daegu was associated with the less negative emotional response on emergency alert text messages. Fear of disclose of contact-tracing information was significantly associated with negative emotional perception on emergency alter text messages.
Our results suggest that effective information providing services with considering vulnerable groups are needed to promote acceptance and eliminate negative emotion for disease related information.


COVID-19; Media coverage; Emergency text alarm; Anxiety; Stress
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