Trust in COVID-19 public health information

Nitin Verma, Kenneth R. Fleischmann, Le Zhou, Bo Xie, Min Kyung Lee, Kate Rich, Kristina Shiroma, Chenyan Jia, Tara Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Understanding the factors that influence trust in public health information is critical for designing successful public health campaigns during pandemics such as COVID-19. We present findings from a cross-sectional survey of 454 US adults—243 older (65+) and 211 younger (18–64) adults—who responded to questionnaires on human values, trust in COVID-19 information sources, attention to information quality, self-efficacy, and factual knowledge about COVID-19. Path analysis showed that trust in direct personal contacts (B = 0.071, p =.04) and attention to information quality (B = 0.251, p <.001) were positively related to self-efficacy for coping with COVID-19. The human value of self-transcendence, which emphasizes valuing others as equals and being concerned with their welfare, had significant positive indirect effects on self-efficacy in coping with COVID-19 (mediated by attention to information quality; effect = 0.049, 95% CI 0.001–0.104) and factual knowledge about COVID-19 (also mediated by attention to information quality; effect = 0.037, 95% CI 0.003–0.089). Our path model offers guidance for fine-tuning strategies for effective public health messaging and serves as a basis for further research to better understand the societal impact of COVID-19 and other public health crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1776-1792
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Science Foundation, Grant/Award Numbers: 2027426, 2030859

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Association for Information Science and Technology.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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