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Why did people avoid information during the COVID-19 pandemic? Understanding information sources' dynamics among Pakistani Z generation

Saira Hanif Soroya (College of Health Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA) (University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Anthony Faiola (College of Health Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 14 March 2023

Issue publication date: 18 April 2023

327

Abstract

Purpose

Grounded in the stressor-strain-outcome model, this study aims to examine the impact of different information sources on information behavior among the Pakistani Z generation during the pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was quantitative, with 344 responses collected from Gen Z (those born in the late 1990s) using an online survey. The proposed structural model was tested with the help of SmartPLS 3.3. Information sources were divided into four categories, i.e. conventional media, personal networks, social media and Internet use through official health websites.

Findings

In the Pakistani context, conventional media was found to develop information overload among Zers, whereas social media and personal networks were positively associated with information anxiety. However, Internet use (official and medical websites) for health-related information-seeking significantly reduced information anxiety among people. None of these information sources are the reason for information avoidance but the sources affect either the independent predictor of information avoidance or the mediators. Whereas information overload is a predictor of information anxiety and information, anxiety is a mediator between information overload and avoidance behavior.

Research limitations/implications

To avoid the negative consequences of abundant information, the authors need to promote and encourage the use of authentic information sources to make Gen Z skeptical, independent, critical and scientific thinkers.

Originality/value

Information sources' dynamics in terms of negative consequences of abundant information has not been explored previously at this magnitude, particularly from the perspective of a developing country.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the contribution of Dr Ali Farooq, University of Turku, Finland and Professor Khalid Mahmood, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan during the idea development and data analysis stage.

Citation

Soroya, S.H. and Faiola, A. (2023), "Why did people avoid information during the COVID-19 pandemic? Understanding information sources' dynamics among Pakistani Z generation", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 229-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-02-2022-0113

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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