This study examined whether individuals' coping strategies and their motivations for social media use act as mediators between actual COVID-19-related stress and the perception that social media use can reduce stress.
This study empirically develops and tests a research model with data (N = 503) collected through Amazon Mechanical Turk. A path analysis was used to test the research model.
The path analysis indicated that active coping initiated by individuals under COVID-19-related stress was more likely to be associated with information and social interaction needs, leading the individuals to perceive the use of social media as the cause for stress reduction. The expressive support coping strategy motivated the individuals under stress to seek social interaction, leading individuals to perceive that activities on social media reduced their stress during the pandemic. Emotional venting and avoidance coping strategies significantly impacted escape, social interaction, and entertainment seeking by allowing individuals to get absorbed in social media activities and forget unpleasant thoughts associated with the pandemic.
No previous study has explored the relationship between decisions around the type of coping strategy used and motivations for media usage, which leads to stress reduction. Understanding how stress-induced coping strategies influence social media users' specific motivations and reduce users' stress levels would help communicators understand how users' can encourage individuals to cope with stress by presenting individuals with more effective social media, resulting in stress reduction and improved well-being.
Bae, M. (2022), "Coping strategies initiated by COVID-19-related stress, individuals' motives for social media use, and perceived stress reduction", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-05-2021-0269
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