Document Type


Publication Date



This study examined the associations of emotions, cognitions, and behavioral intentions in response to exposure to news stories reporting on the arrival of Omicron variant in Vietnam. Outcomes included fear, anxiety, anger, comparative optimism, intentions to conduct prevention behavior (wash hands with soap), detection behavior (test for Omicron infection), and share health information. Two experiments were conducted with participants being randomized to either low-risk or high-risk condition that contained information promoting hand-washing with soap (Experiment 1, N = 303), or information promoting COVID-19 testing (Experiment 2, N = 303). Results indicated that viewing high-risk news stories led to higher fear, anxiety, and anger than low-risk news stories. Fear fully mediated the effect of news exposure on intentions to test for Omicron infection and share health information. Comparative optimism moderated the indirect effect of news exposure on intentions to wash hands with soap and share information about COVID-19 testing. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.


Author accepted manuscript version of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Health Communication


Available for download on Monday, December 02, 2024

Included in

Communication Commons