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Understanding Knowledgeable Workers' Behavior Toward COVID-19 Information Sharing Through WhatsApp in Pakistan


Abstract and Figures

Using social media through mobile has become a major source of disseminating information; however, the motivations that impact social media users' intention and actual information-sharing behavior need further examination. To this backdrop, drawing on the uses and gratifications theory, theory of prosocial behavior, and theory of planned behavior, we aim to examine various motivations toward information-sharing behaviors in a specific context [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)]. We collected data from 388 knowledgeable workers through Google Forms and applied structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses. We noted that individuals behave seriously toward crisis-related information, as they share COVID-19 information on WhatsApp not only to be entertained and seek status or information but also to help others. Further, we noted norms of reciprocation, habitual diversion, and socialization as motivators that augment WhatsApp users' positive attitude toward COVID-19 information-sharing behavior.
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fpsyg-11-572526 October 5, 2020 Time: 13:24 # 1
published: 07 October 2020
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572526
Edited by:
Pilar Lacasa,
University of Alcalá, Spain
Reviewed by:
Barbara Caci,
University of Palermo, Italy
Anja Podlesek,
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Esther Cuadrado,
University of Córdoba, Spain
Talat Islam
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Human-Media Interaction,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Received: 14 June 2020
Accepted: 15 September 2020
Published: 07 October 2020
Islam T, Mahmood K, Sadiq M,
Usman B and Yousaf SU (2020)
Understanding Knowledgeable
Workers’ Behavior Toward COVID-19
Information Sharing Through
WhatsApp in Pakistan.
Front. Psychol. 11:572526.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572526
Understanding Knowledgeable
Workers’ Behavior Toward COVID-19
Information Sharing Through
WhatsApp in Pakistan
Talat Islam1*, Khalid Mahmood2, Misbah Sadiq3, Bushra Usman4and
Sheikh Usman Yousaf5
1Institute of Business Administration, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, 2Department of Information Management,
Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, 3Department of Economics
and Finance, College of Economics and Management, Al Qasimia University, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 4School
of Management, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan, 5Hailey College of Commerce, University of the Punjab,
Lahore, Pakistan
Using social media through mobile has become a major source of disseminating
information; however, the motivations that impact social media users’ intention and
actual information-sharing behavior need further examination. To this backdrop, drawing
on the uses and gratifications theory, theory of prosocial behavior, and theory of planned
behavior, we aim to examine various motivations toward information-sharing behaviors
in a specific context [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)]. We collected data from
388 knowledgeable workers through Google Forms and applied structural equation
modeling to test the hypotheses. We noted that individuals behave seriously toward
crisis-related information, as they share COVID-19 information on WhatsApp not only to
be entertained and seek status or information but also to help others. Further, we noted
norms of reciprocation, habitual diversion, and socialization as motivators that augment
WhatsApp users’ positive attitude toward COVID-19 information-sharing behavior.
Keywords: theory of planned behavior, COVID-19, information sharing behavior, social media, developing country,
theory of prosocial behavior, theory of use and gratification
A decade ago, information about crises was first informed by the affected ones through mobile
phones, then were reported on social media (Oh et al., 2011). Nowadays, social media has become
a major and rapid source of improvising, communicating, and distributing information during
crises (Zhao et al., 2016). This is because social media has shown a great potential to respond to
affected people during crises. However, there remained a criticism on the accuracy and quality of
the information provided through social media by the volunteers (Alexander, 2014). For instance,
at the early stage of tragedy or crisis, complete information about crises may not be available, and
if in such situations social media users keep on posting and reposting inaccurate information,
these could result in serious damages. Indeed, social media is a quick source of distributing
information or rumors compared with traditional media (Tripathy et al., 2013). In fact, while
searching “false news about earthquake,” one can find millions of fake news about the incident
posted by citizens, and most of the news is there to create more panic about another imminent
earthquake (Tanaka et al., 2013).
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It does not necessarily mean that social media is only a
source to spread false information during crises; in fact, it
can be used as a channel to combat rumors. Zhao et al.
(2016) noted that social media users first authenticate and
then broadcast crises-related information. Similarly, Bird et al.
(2012) also noted social media users’ positive attitudes toward
crises-related information sharing. In March 2011, when Japan
was hit by an earthquake tsunami, social media (Twitter) was
actively involved, as Stirratt (2011) noted 49% of the circulated
information was either positive or somewhat positive, whereas
only 7% of the information was negative or somewhat negative
about the emergency response. The world is facing a similar kind
of problem because of the new pandemic [coronavirus disease
2019 (COVID-19)]. The issue (COVID-19) is still new with lots
of rumors on social media.
In December 2019, Hubei province in China captured the
world’s attention when pneumonia (lung disease) caused by a
coronavirus emerged in Wuhan. The city of Wuhan is located in
central China and is a key industrial and transportation hub with
over 11 million population. At the beginning, it was believed that
severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-
2) is typically not transmissible to humans, as it has its origin
rooted back to animals. However, in case of SARS, this virus
is transmissible from animals to humans and humans to other
humans. The severity of virus can be estimated by the fact that it
took 3 months to reach the first 100,000 cases and only 12 days
for another 100,000 cases (WHO, 2020).
Numerous misinformation is reported on several social media
platforms regarding cure, prevention, outcomes, and etiology of
the disease (Sandhya, 2020). Although these rumors are masking
health behaviors, however, promoting erroneous practices is not
only spreading the virus but also causing poor mental and
physical health. For example, in India, a father of three kids
was diagnosed with COVID-19 who then committed suicide
(Joe, 2020). Similarly, after hearing about chloroquine (a drug
primarily used to treat malaria), as a powerful drug to treat
COVID-19 on media, several Nigerians were reported overdosed
by their health minister (Busari and Adebyo, 2020). Similarly,
the news of lockdown created panic regarding stationeries and
groceries, which unbalanced demand–supply gaps and disrupted
the supply chain in many countries (Spencer, 2020). These
rumors largely affected individuals’ psychological and physical
health, thereby generating the need to study what motivates social
media users to share such information.
Ji et al. (2014) used rumor dynamic theory and developed
an anti-rumor model. Similarly, Tripathy et al. (2011) and
Tripathy et al. (2013) also developed anti-rumor models (i.e.,
neighborhood, beacon, and delayed start models). These models
were developed for social media through a technological
perspective and thus are very complex to understand for a
layman. However, studies suggesting anti-rumor models from a
social–psychological perspective are scarce. For example, Zhao
et al. (2016) developed a norm activation model based on
the theory of planned behavior to understand social media
users’ information-sharing behavior, while Chen et al. (2018)
extended this model by examining motivational factors toward
such behaviors and suggested future researchers to identify more
factors. In addition, past studies have highlighted the role of social
media (mostly Facebook or Twitter) toward dissemination of
crisis-related information (Tanaka et al., 2013;Zhao et al., 2016;
Chen et al., 2018). However, studies on the factors that motivate
social media users (WhatsApp) to share such information are
limited. To fill in this gap, we selected WhatsApp users because
statistics show that 29 million WhatsApp messages are sent every
minute in Pakistan (Khan, 2020).
Moreover, past studies have identified entertainment,
“individual’s desire to experience emotions through online
participation” (Park et al., 2009), information seeking, “seeking
for information as a consequence of a need to satisfy some goal”
(Lee and Ma, 2012), socialization, “talking with others to achieve
a sense of community and peer support on the particular topic
of the group” (Karnik et al., 2013), status seeking, “maintaining
personal status, as well as of their friends, through the online
group participation” (Malik et al., 2016), habitual diversion,
“entertaining activity as an escape from reality or routine”
(Krause et al., 2014), and norms of reciprocity, “repaying in kind
what others have done for us” (Chen et al., 2018), as motivators
for information-sharing behavior on social media. However, how
these motivators work holistically during crises (COVID-19 in
this study) and the benefits associated with these need to be shed
light. Therefore, we aim at extending past studies by examining
the roles of socialization, status seeking, norms of reciprocity,
habitual diversion, information seeking, and entertainment
(motivational factors) of WhatsApp users’ attitudes toward
COVID-19 information-sharing behavior. We used Batson’s
(1990) theory of prosocial behavior (TPSB), Ajzen’s (1991) theory
of planned behavior (TPB), and Katz et al.’s (1974) uses and
gratifications theory (U&G) to develop a novel model toward
social media sharing behavior of knowledgeable workers. In
simple words, our study aims to examine:
(1) The role of socialization, status seeking, habitual
diversion, information seeking, norms of reciprocity,
and entertainment toward COVID-19 information-sharing
behavior through WhatsApp (supporting from TPSB
and U&G).
(2) How these factors affect the actual behaviors (TPB)
Uses and Gratifications Theory
According to U&G, individuals fulfill their gratifications by
selecting specific media over alternatives. Literature has suggested
U&G as the utmost significant theory that explains the
determinants and meaning of social media users’ behavior in the
field of communication studies (Malik et al., 2016). Researchers
started using U&G in explaining and identifying the motivations
behind the use of traditional media. However, with the passage of
time, traditional media was replaced by internet, which changed
individuals’ behavior of using social media. Few of the studies
have used U&G to examine the users’ motivations of using social
media, such as Twitch, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat,
and Facebook (Phua et al., 2017;Sjöblom et al., 2017;Chen et al.,
2018). Kim and Yang (2017) argued that social media users use
“share,” “comments,” “care,” and “like/dislike” as communication
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Islam et al. COVID-19 Information Sharing Behavior
behaviors. Among these, “like/dislike” and “care” are driven by
affect, whereas “comment” is driven by cognition. However,
“share” is driven by both cognition and affection.
Krause et al. (2014) suggested that individuals highly motivate,
involve, and devote when contributing something via social
media, and their sharing depends upon communal incentive
and self-interest (Fu et al., 2017). Indeed, content such as
music (Krause et al., 2014), links (Baek et al., 2011), pictures
(Malik et al., 2016), information regarding health (AlQarni
et al., 2016), news (Lee and Ma, 2012), and crises-related
information (Chen et al., 2018) matters while sharing on
social media. Malik et al. (2016) identified information seeking,
status seeking, and habitual diversion as gratification among
368 Facebook users while posting photos. Chen et al. (2018)
identified norm of reciprocity, habitual diversion, and status
seeking motivators for sharing crises-related information on
WeChat. AlQarni et al. (2016) analyzed 1,551 Facebook posts
on diabetes mellitus from the Arabic world to understand
users’ gratification. They concluded that most of the users
post their personal experiences to create awareness as norms
of reciprocity. Park et al. (2009) noted that most of the
information-sharing activities on social media (Facebook) take
place through group applications. They noted that most of
the students use social media to seek information about civic
activities, status seeking, and socializing, instead of political
activities. Lee and Ma (2012) studied 203 students and identified
that socialization and status seeking positively influence while
entertainment and information seeking insignificantly associated
with their intention to share information. According to Chen
et al. (2018), factors that motivate social media users to share
crises-related information need further attention. Therefore, we
aim to examine how previously examined motivations (getting
entertainment, seeking information, habitual diversion, status
seeking, socialization, and norms of reciprocity) for information-
sharing behaviors on social media can make a difference
during COVID-19 outbreak with the assumption that getting
entertainment may negatively affect said behaviors. According to
Zhao et al. (2016), social media users may behave with maturity
regarding sharing crises-related information. More specifically,
Chen et al. (2018) studied 365 WeChat users and noted a
negative influence of entertainment on attitudes toward behavior
for crises-related information. We extend existing literature in
two ways. First, past studies have examined these motivators
with information-sharing intention (Park et al., 2009;Lee and
Ma, 2012); we extend these studies and attempt to understand
these motivators through TPB. Therefore, we examined these
motivators’ influence on attitudes toward behavior, subjective
norms (SN), and perceived behavioral control (PBC). The
motivators, i.e., getting entertainment, seeking information,
habitual diversion, status seeking, socialization, and norms of
reciprocity, help individuals to evaluate their favorable or non-
favorable behaviors (PBC) (Park et al., 2009;Malik et al., 2016;
Chen et al., 2018). Whereas status seeking and socialization can
also affect individuals PBC (an individual’s perception about ease
or difficulty to perform a behavior) and SNs [an individual’s
perception about whether his/her near ones (e.g., teachers, friends,
peers, spouse, and parents) want him/her to behave in a specific
manner], given that individuals around us impact our beliefs
about favorable situations. Specifically, we aim to examine
whether the gratification of sharing COVID-19 information on
social media identified by literature (in isolation) can impact
WhatsApp users’ attitudes toward information-sharing behavior,
SNs, and PBC. Thus, we may hypothesize:
H1: Getting entertainment (a) has a negative impact, whereas
seeking information (b), habitual diversion (c), status seeking (d),
and socialization (e) have a positive impact, on WhatsApp users
attitudes toward COVID-19 information-sharing behavior.
H2: Seeking status (a) and socialization (b) have a positive
impact on WhatsApp users’ subjective norms about COVID-19
information-sharing behavior.
H3: Seeking status (a) and socialization (b) have a positive impact
on WhatsApp users’ perceived behavioral control toward COVID-
19 information-sharing behavior.
Theory of Prosocial Behavior
We extend the literature by arguing that, in addition to
gratification, individuals may voluntarily share COVID-19
information on WhatsApp for prosocial purposes (i.e., TPSB).
According to Sanstock and Topical (2007), prosocial behavior
includes obeying rules, cooperating, donating, sharing, helping,
and complying to socially acceptable behaviors. However, social
psychologists posit a different perspective behind individuals’
prosocial behavior on social media. Morozov (2010) argued
that social media users lack strong bonding, therefore, it may
not be an essential platform for prosocial behavior, called
“Slacktivism.” In contrast, while studying Facebook and Twitter,
Fatkin and Lansdown (2015) noted a significant association
between exposure to social media and prosocial behavior. For
example, Michelle Sollicito created a page “Snowed Out Atlanta
on Facebook to help people after sensing traffic gridlock, as a
result, many open pages and groups were created to help people
in snow disasters. Likewise, a page “blood donations of Hailey
College of Banking and Finance” created many other open groups
to help those who need blood in the country. Similarly, the
concept of Black Friday by Americans was adopted by many
other countries in the world (Fatkin and Lansdown, 2015). These
findings show that, despite weak ties among users, social media
can be a source of prosocial helping behaviors.
While exploring prosocial behavior, Eisenberg et al. (1998)
identified social status, egoistic concerns, perceived fairness
system, empathy toward others’ welfare, and reciprocity as
the motivations behind such behaviors. Pai and Tsai (2016)
argued that norms of reciprocity may be the key motivating
factor that impact individuals’ information-sharing behavior.
Norms of reciprocity is a universal norm that individuals must
pay back to the one who helped them at the time of need
(Gouldner, 1960). Literature is mixed while applying the concept
of reciprocity on information-sharing behavior on social media.
For example, Wasko and Faraj (2000) noted a negative, Wiertz
and De Ruyter (2007) noted an insignificant, while Chang
and Chuang (2011) noted a positive and significant association
of norms of reciprocity with individuals’ information-sharing
behavior on social media. It can be inferred that the association
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between norms of reciprocity and information-sharing behavior
may depend on the context and conditions (Pai and Tsai,
2016). Following the same, we argue that in case of crises,
WhatsApp users consider it their responsibility to share accurate
and updated information to benefit sufferers, thus we may
H4: Norms of reciprocity have a positive impact on WhatsApp users’
attitudes (a), subjective norms (b), and perceived behavioral control
(c) toward COVID-19 information-sharing behavior.
Theory of Planned Behavior
According to Ajzen (2011), individuals’ behavior is dependent
upon their belief about controlling their behavior, perception
about their near ones that they want them to perform a certain
behavior, and/or they have a favorable attitude toward that
behavior. Thus, TPB elucidates the inspiring and informational
influence on individuals’ behaviors. Researchers have been using
TPB in the field of computers since the 1980s. However, few of
the researchers have used this theory in explaining users’ online
behaviors, such as service and shipping usage (Lu et al., 2007),
watching video (Cha, 2013), and shopping (Cheng and Huang,
2013). Later, researchers start using TPB in exploring individuals
behavior using social media such as privacy protection (Taneja
et al., 2014), combating rumor (Zhao et al., 2016), crises
information sharing (Chen et al., 2018), and location disclosure
(Chang and Chen, 2014). Zhao et al. (2016) inculcates that
social media-related behaviors can best be explained with the
help of TPB. Given that, we aim to extend these studies by
examining WhatsApp user’s behavior during the COVID-19
pandemic through TPB. As discussed earlier, TPB explains an
individual’s behavioral intention (BI) through three aspects,
i.e., “attitude toward behavior, subjective norms, and perceived
behavioral control.” According to Ajzen (2011), individuals first
evaluate their behavior (favorable or not favorable) to develop
their BI, called attitude toward behavior (ATB). We argue that
COVID-19 information-sharing attitude impacts social media
users’ sharing intention. Following the same, we hypothesize:
H5: A positive attitude toward COVID-19 information sharing has
a positive impact on WhatsApp users’ intention to share COVID-19
As per TPB, the second aspect that influences BI is SNs.
SN refers to an individual’s perception about whether his/her
near ones (e.g., teachers, friends, peers, spouse, parents, etc.)
want him/her to behave in a specific manner (Ajzen, 2011). In
simple words, SN is an individual’s perception about consent
or condemnation of his behaviors by the majority (Amjad and
Wood, 2009). Chang et al. (2014) noted that an individual’s
63% of the variance of gameplay intentions was explained by
SNs. Similarly, Bai et al. (2014) noted an individual’s 57%
of the intentions to continue hygienic food-handling behavior
is explained by SNs. Particular to social media, Chen et al.
(2018) also found SNs positively impacting on individuals’
intention of sharing crises-related information. Therefore, we
may hypothesize:
H6: Subjective norms have an impact on WhatsApp users’ intention
to share COVID-19 information.
According to TPB, PBC is the third aspect that impacts BI.
This aspect varies across situations because it is an individual’s
perception about ease or difficulty to perform a behavior.
Therefore, individuals when perceiving favorable situations
would behave accordingly. Ajzen (2011) inculcates that PBC
also has a tendency to impact individual’s actual behaviors
(AB). In particular, individuals have multiple sources to share
information; however, we aim to examine how PBC predict
WhatsApp users’ actual and BI to share COVID-19 information.
Thus, we hypothesize:
H7: Perceived behavioral control has a positive impact on
WhatsApp users’ behavioral intention (a) and actual behavior (b)
of sharing COVID-19 information.
Literature has suggested that individual’s BI positively affects
their ABs in microblogging (Jiang et al., 2016) and transportation
(Bamberg et al., 2007). Whereas others have identified a mixed
result studying solar energy usage (Hai et al., 2017) and
combating rumor (Zhao et al., 2016) and electronic waste
(Echegaray and Hansstein, 2017). Thus, there is a need to
further examine the association between BI and AB. We aim
to examine whether intention to share COVID-19 information
affects individuals’ AB toward information sharing or not by
H8: Behavioral intention has a positive impact on WhatsApp users
behavior of sharing COVID-19 information.
Sample and Procedure
We collected data from the students of MBA executive because
of the following reasons. First, we wanted to understand the
behaviors of well-educated people toward COVID-19. Higher
Education Commission of Pakistan has authorized universities
that an applicant must have 16 years of education with a
minimum of 2 years of work experience to be enrolled in MBA
executive (which served the purpose). Second, although English
is considered as the official language, still many of the employees
remained unable to understand English (Raja et al., 2004;Islam
et al., 2019, 2020a,b), thus educated people were selected as
they can better respond to the questionnaires in English. Finally,
during the lockdown, data collection was difficult in real settings.
We conducted an online survey where a link was shared on the
WhatsApp groups of executive students. The students were noted
to disseminate COVID-19-related information on these groups
on a frequent basis. Further, few of the students or their family
members were COVID-19 positive. The respondents were well
explained about the purpose of this study and were ensured about
the anonymity of their responses. Within 15 days, we received
394 responses out from 420 students. The data on all variables
were collected from the same respondent; therefore, we followed
the instructions of Podsakoff et al. (2012) to cope with the issue of
common method variance (CMV). In addition, we also examined
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Harman’s single-factor test, and a single factor was found to have
no more than 50% variance. The test supported the conclusion
that CMV is absent.
We consider age, gender, qualification, and sector as control
variables as these can have effects on respondents’ attitudes and
behaviors (Davis et al., 2019;Ahmad et al., 2020). According
to gender, 84.5% (n= 328) of the respondents were male and
15.5% (n= 60) of the respondents were female, which represent
the male-dominant culture of the country (Islam et al., 2020b).
According to age, 46.4% (n= 180) of the respondents were
between 31 and 40 years, 35.6% (n= 138) were less than 30 years,
12.4% (n= 48) were between 41 and 50 years, and only 5.7%
(n= 22) were above the age of 50 years. Based on sector, 64.7%
(n= 251) of the respondents were from the manufacturing sector,
while 35.3% (n= 137) were from the service sector. Interestingly,
33.2% (n= 129) of the respondents were habitual WhatsApp users
for at least 2 h/day, 30.4% (n= 118) use WhatsApp for 3 h/day,
19.3% (n= 75) use WhatsApp for 1 h/day, and 17.0% (n= 66)
were using WhatsApp for more than 3 h/day.
We adapted questionnaires from the past studies and modified
them according to the situation (COVID-19). Respondents
responded using a five-point Likert scale (see Appendix A).
We used six factors (i.e., norms of reciprocity, socialization,
status seeking, habitual diversion, information seeking, and
entertainment) about the reasons of participating in online
discussions. Among these, questionnaires on four factors
(i.e., self-status seeking, socialization, information seeking, and
entertainment) comprised of three items for each factor were
adapted from the study of Park et al. (2009), who reported their
reliability ranges between 0.81 and 0.87. These factors were also
validated by Chen et al. (2018) in the Southeast Asian context.
Using the same factors, we noted its values of Cronbachs alpha
ranges between 0.70 and 0.82. We adapted another three-item
scale of habitual diversion from the study of Malik et al. (2016)
and noted 0.71 as the value of its reliability. Finally, norms of
reciprocity were measured through a three-item scale of Pai and
Tsai (2016), and we noted 0.73 as the value of its reliability.
Information about (SN, ATB, PBC, AB, and BI was obtained
through Ajzen’s (1991) three-item scale for each. These scales
have been validated by Oh et al. (2013),Han (2015),Zhao et al.
(2016), and Chen et al. (2018). We noted 0.70, 0.79, 0.83, 0.86, and
0.83 as the values of its reliability, respectively (see Appendix A).
Statistical Analyses
We applied structural equation modeling (SEM) to test
the hypotheses. The data were examined for the basis
assumptions of SEM (e.g., missing values, outliers, normality,
and multicollinearity). First, we conducted a confirmatory
factor analysis (CFA) as we used validated scales. CFA
was performed using AMOS version 24, applying maximum
likelihood estimation. According to Mîndrilã (2010), in case of
an ordinary scale, weighted least squares (WLS) parameter is
best but only when data are asymmetric or show a high level
of heteroskedasticity. The data for the study were examined
for heteroskedasticity and found to be normally distributed;
therefore, maximum likelihood method was used (Li, 2016). We
followed Williams et al. (2009) for mode fit indices, Hair et al.
(2018) for the values of factor loading, composite reliability,
and average variance extracted, and Cronbachs alpha. We
then examined Pearson correlation to examine the strength of
bivariate relationships among variables. Finally, we examined the
structural model to test the hypotheses.
We examined the hypotheses through SEM using AMOS.
Therefore, first, the data were examined to fulfill their
basic assumptions (i.e., missing values, outliers, normality,
and collinearity).
Preliminary Analyses
The data (394 responses) were found to be free from missing
values because they were collected through Google Forms and
a condition of compulsory answer was applied. We applied
Mahalanobis distance test at P<0.01 to identify outliers;
therefore, six were excluded (Hair et al., 2018). Regarding
normality, the values of skewness and kurtosis (i.e., ±1 and
±3, respectively) were noted to be within range (Byrne, 2016).
Finally, none of the correlation was found to be more than 0.85
(Table 1), which identifies the absence of collinearity in the data
(Tabachnick and Fidell, 2019).
Descriptive Statistics
The results of descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. The
mean values show that the respondents agreed about five factors
[i.e., norms of reciprocity (3.82), socialization (3.56), status
seeking (3.60), habitual diversion (3.59), and information seeking
(3.63)], whereas respondents disagreed about entertainment
(1.68) as the reason for participating in online discussions during
the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, they also agreed on SNs (3.83),
ATB (3.56), perceived behavioral control (3.47), actual behavior
(3.72), and behavioral intention (3.82). Moreover, the values of
Cronbachs alpha of all the variables were also noted well above
the standard value of 0.70 (Hair et al., 2018) (Appendix A).
Further, we noted positive and significant correlations among
variables used (rranging between 0.32 and 0.67, P<0.05), except
entertainment as it was noted to have a negative correlation with
other variables (rranging between 0.30 and 0.59, P<0.01).
Structural Equation Modeling
We followed Anderson and Gerbing (1998), and SEM was
applied in two stages where, first, CFA was conducted to
examine the measurement model (11-factor model as all the
factors were included while examining the measurement model)
because scales used by us were adapted; second, the structural
model was examined. We used “chi-square/degree of freedom
(x2/df 3.0), Tucker–Lewis index (TLI 0.90), comparative
fit index (CFI 0.90), goodness-of-fit index (GFI 0.90), root
mean residual (RMR 0.10), and root mean square error of
approximation (RMSEA 0.08)” for model fit, as suggested
by Williams et al. (2009) and found our model fit, i.e., x2/df
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TABLE 1 | Results of correlation, mean, and standard deviation.
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
(1) Norms of Reciprocity (NOR) 1
(2) Socialization 0.59** 1
(3) Status Seeking (SS) 0.55** 0.67** 1
(4) Habitual Diversion (HD) 0.63** 0.60** 0.58** 1
(5) Information Seeking (IS) 0.54** 0.58** 0.53** 0.51** 1
(6) Entertainment 0.44** 0.30** 0.38** 0.40** 0.42** 1
(7) Subjective Norms (SN) 0.45** 0.33** 0.35** 0.43** 0.38** 0.47** 1
(8) Attitude Toward Behavior (ATB) 0.58** 0.43** 0.37** 0.48** 0.40** 0.38** 0.31** 1
(9) Perceived Behavioral Control (PBC) 0.55** 0.53** 0.50** 0.50** 0.49** 0.55** 0.41** 0.53** 1
(10) Actual Behavior (AB) 0.46** 0.33** 0.38** 0.40** 0.32** 0.53** 0.49** 0.43** 0.53** 1
(11) Behavioral Intention (BI) 0.56** 0.45** 0.47** 0.49** 0.44** 0.59** 0.49** 0.47** 0.61** 0.63** 1
Mean 3.82 3.56 3.60 3.59 3.63 1.98 3.83 3.56 3.47 3.72 3.82
Standard Deviation 0.71 0.70 0.74 0.75 0.71 0.68 0.65 0.79 0.82 0.84 0.81
(981.248/440) = 2.23, TLI = 0.90, CFI = 0.91, GFI = 0.90,
RMR = 0.039, RMSEA = 0.056, and P-Close = 0.014. Further,
we followed Hair et al. (2018) to examine loading (i.e., 0.50),
average variance extracted (i.e., 0.50), and composite reliability
(i.e., 0.60) and noted that our scales fulfilled the criteria (see
Appendix A).
Hypotheses Testing
Results generated through the structural model (maximum
likelihood parameter estimation) are presented in Figure 1 and
Table 2. The structural model was found to be fit, i.e., x2/df
(1,077.551/465) = 2.31, TLI = 0.92, CFI = 0.93, GFI = 0.92,
RMR = 0.044, RMSEA = 0.058, and P-Close = 0.001. The
values revealed that entertainment negatively impacts (β=0.14,
CR = 3.190, P= 0.001), habitual diversion (β= 0.15, CR = 3.447,
P= 0.000), socialization (β= 0.11, CR = 2.497, P= 0.013), and
norms of reciprocity (β= 0.42, CR = 9.563, P= 0.000) positively
impact, whereas seeking information (β=0.04, CR = 0.901,
P= 0.368) and status seeking (β=0.07, CR = 1.548,
P= 0.122) insignificantly impact on WhatsApp users’ attitudes
toward COVID-19 information-sharing behavior. These findings
support H1a, H1c, H1e, and H4a and rejects H1b and H1d,
respectively. The values further show that seeking status (β= 0.14,
CR = 3.011, P= 0.003), socialization (β= 0.13, CR = 2.786,
P= 0.000), and norms of reciprocity (β= 0.37, CR = 7.899,
P= 0.000) were also noted to have a positive impact on WhatsApp
users’ SNs about COVID-19 information-sharing behavior. These
results support H2a, H2b, and H4b, respectively. Similarly,
seeking status (β= 0.19, CR = 4.144, P= 0.000), socialization
(β= 0.25, CR = 5.609, P= 0.000), and norms of reciprocity
(β= 0.36, CR = 8.131, P= 0.000) were also noted to have a positive
impact on WhatsApp users’ perceived behavioral control toward
COVID-19 information-sharing behavior. These results support
H3a, H3b, and H4c, respectively.
The results further revealed that ATB (β= 0.17, CR = 2.646,
P= 0.008), SNs (β= 0.24, CR = 6.425, P= 0.000), and
perceived behavioral control (β= 0.55, CR = 14.506, P= 0.000)
positively impact WhatsApp users’ intention to share COVID-19
information. Finally, perceived behavioral control (β= 0.16,
CR = 3.103, P= 0.002) and behavioral intention (β= 0.49,
CR = 9.180, P= 0.000) were also found to predict WhatsApp
users’ actual behavior toward COVID-19 information. These
results support H5, H6, H7a, H7b, and H8, respectively.
The aim of this study was to develop and understand a
model about the motivations toward WhatsApp users’ COVID-
19 information-sharing behavior in a developing country.
We consider the framework of TPB and extend with the
help of TPSB and U&G. We examined hypotheses on 388
responses collected during the COVID-19 pandemic through
an online survey. Unlike past studies, the findings of this
study are interesting. For example, past studies confirmed that
most of the social media users (especially mobile) consider
social media a source of entertainment (Leggatt, 2011). Tsang
et al. (2014) noted that entertainment positively associated
with users’ ATB. On the other hand, Lee and Ma (2012)
identified an insignificant association between entertainment
and information-sharing behavior. Further, Chen et al.’s (2018)
findings revealed a negative association between entertainment
and attitude toward information sharing. Similarly, information
seeking and status seeking also show a mixed result. For
example, Malik et al. (2016) identified that social media users
share information (photos) for information seeking and status
seeking, while Chen et al. (2018) identified a non-significant
association of status seeking and information seeking with ATB.
It can be inferred that motivating factors impact individuals’
information-sharing behavior differently in different contexts,
i.e., situation, culture, etc. (Fu et al., 2017). Considering the
situational factor (i.e., COVID-19), we noted that individuals
do not share COVID-19 information on WhatsApp to be
entertained. Precisely, individuals respond to crises with a
serious attitude and try to disseminate authentic information
(Chen et al., 2018). Contradicting previous studies, we further
noted that information and status seeking does not motivate
individuals toward information sharing during the COVID-19
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Islam et al. COVID-19 Information Sharing Behavior
Information Seeking
Norms of
Habitual Diversion
Status seeking
Subjective Norms
Perceived Behavioral
Attitude towards
Actual Behavior
Behavioral Intention
FIGURE 1 | Structural model.
TABLE 2 | Results of hypotheses testing.
Hypotheses Standardized βCR SE PResult
EntertainmentAttitude Toward Behavior 0.14 3.190 0.046 0.001 H1a is accepted
Information SeekingAttitude Toward Behavior 0.04 0.901 0.045 0.368 H1b is rejected
Habitual DiversionAttitude Toward Behavior 0.15 3.447 0.043 0.000 H1c is accepted
Status SeekingAttitude Toward Behavior 0.07 1.548 0.043 0.122 H1d is rejected
SocializationAttitude Toward Behavior 0.11 2.497 0.045 0.013 H1e is accepted
Norms of ReciprocityAttitude Toward Behavior 0.42 9.563 0.043 0.000 H4a is accepted
Status SeekingSubjective Norms 0.14 3.011 0.040 0.003 H2a is accepted
SocializationSubjective Norms 0.13 2.786 0.042 0.000 H2b is accepted
Norms of ReciprocitySubjective Norms 0.37 7.899 0.042 0.000 H4b is accepted
Status SeekingPerceived Behavioral Control 0.19 4.144 0.044 0.000 H3a is accepted
SocializationPerceived Behavioral Control 0.25 5.609 0.047 0.000 H3b is accepted
Norms of ReciprocityPerceived Behavioral Control 0.36 8.131 0.046 0.000 H4c is accepted
Attitude toward BehaviorBehavioral Intention 0.17 2.646 0.039 0.008 H5 is accepted
Subjective NormsBehavioral Intention 0.24 6.425 0.042 0.000 H6 is accepted
Perceived Behavioral ControlBehavioral Intention 0.55 14.506 0.038 0.000 H7a is accepted
Behavioral intentionActual Behavior 0.49 9.180 0.058 0.000 H8 is accepted
Perceived Behavioral ControlActual Behavior 0.16 3.103 0.057 0.002 H7b is accepted
CR represents t-value. SE, standard error; P, significance.
pandemic. This may be because individuals primarily focus
on the pandemic (crisis) and want to be assured before
sharing the same information on social media as they prefer
to combat rumors (Zhao et al., 2016). In line with literature,
we also noted socialization, habitual diversion, and norms
of reciprocity as motivating factors for “attitudes toward
information-sharing behavior.”
Past studies have identified socialization, status seeking, and
norms of reciprocity as the motivational factors for SNs; we
identified the same for perceived behavioral control as well. This
finding suggests that WhatsApp users use prosocial behaviors
regarding sharing information, rather than being just rumor
mills (Hjorth and Kim, 2011). This finding can be justified by
arguing, although status seeking, and socializing is considered
bad during the pandemic; still, the desire to connect with others
to get helpful information overcomes the fear of information
sharing. According to Kim (2014), individuals are prone to
anxiety when they feel isolated or find themselves with lack
of sufficient information. However, having themselves equipped
with timely information may help them in getting out of the state
of anxiety. Regarding norms of reciprocity, individuals consider
it their responsibility to pay back to the society by sharing
pandemic-related information on WhatsApp.
Finally, consistent with the TPB, we noted that ATB, SNs, and
perceived behavioral control positively predict WhatsApp
users’ behavioral intention and actual behavior toward
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Islam et al. COVID-19 Information Sharing Behavior
COVID-19-related information. This finding suggests that
WhatsApp users who feel an obligation have a positive attitude
toward others and are more confident about sharing information
and are more likely to be involved in sharing COVID-19
information with others. Replying to the contradictory results
(Zhao et al., 2016), we identified behavioral intention as the
predictor of actual behavior. Thus, TPB, U&G, and TPSB fit
to understand WhatsApp users’ information-sharing behavior
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implications and Limitations
The findings of our study contribute theoretically and practically.
First, most of the previous studies regarding information-sharing
behavior have been conducted in western countries where
Twitter or Facebook remained their prime focus. However, the
prime focus of our study was to understand the individuals’
information-sharing behavior during COVID-19 in a non-
western context. Second, past studies mostly have studied generic
information-sharing behaviors (e.g., Zhao et al., 2016;Chen
et al., 2018), whereas we examined the same in a specific
context (COVID-19) and found contradictory results, which
generated the need to further understand social media users’
information-sharing behavior along with their motivations.
Third, as we investigated the relationship between motivations
and information sharing, therefore, the findings of our study may
likely benefit academicians, policy makers, and all other related
stakeholders. Finally, our study extends the existing literature
about information sharing in the field of behavioral research by
combining TPSB, U&G, and TPB.
This study suggests practitioners to handle crises by
understanding that educated individuals in developing
countries are very serious regarding disseminating crises-related
information. They do not share information to be entertained
or seek status, but to be socialized as to alleviate their anxiety
and tension by sharing crisis-related information (COVID-
19 here). Further, educated social media users feel that it is
their responsibility to share crisis-related information with
others for their betterment and to combat rumors. Given that,
healthcare professionals should release relevant and sufficient
information on social media through different channels, such as
WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat, etc. While doing so,
disseminating misleading information may be prevented.
Despite implications, the study has few limitations. First, we
collected data from highly educated individuals using WhatsApp,
which may raise a question on its generalizability to other
populations as the results might be different considering less
educated individuals and other social media channels. Second,
most of the respondents of this study were male, which may raise
a question of gender bias results. Therefore, future researchers are
suggested to have equal representation of both male and female
participants. Third, the data on independent and dependent
variables were collected from the same source, which may
generate biased results; therefore, future researchers are suggested
to collect data as dyads (i.e., user and his/her colleague). In
addition, such data restrict the researchers to identify the exact
direction. Fourth, there exists a gap in the measures used as some
of the questions are about sharing COVID information, while
others are about sharing authentic COVID information. Finally,
we used motivations based on U&G and TPSB; future researchers
are suggested to identify other unexplored motivations toward
information-sharing behavior.
Drawing upon the U&G, TPSB, and TPB, we examined a
model to understand the motivations that impact social media
(WhatsApp) users while sharing COVID-19 information. We
noted that social media users do not share crises-related
information to be entertained or for information seeking and
status seeking. They behave with maturity and consider their
responsibility to share authentic information during crises. The
findings of this study suggest that healthcare professionals share
relevant information on social media for further dissemination.
Such policies would not only help victims in adopting accurate
precautionary measures but also help to combat rumors.
The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be
made available by the authors, without undue reservation.
The studies involving human participants were reviewed and
approved by Institute of Business Administration, University of
the Punjab. Written informed consent for participation was not
required for this study in accordance with the national legislation
and the institutional requirements.
TI developed the manuscript, collected the data, and conducted
the analysis. KM initiated the idea. MS helped in incorporating
suggested changes, while BU and SY gave the manuscript a final
proofread. All the authors contributed to the article and approved
the submitted version.
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Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the
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potential conflict of interest.
Copyright © 2020 Islam, Mahmood, Sadiq, Usman and Yousaf. This is an open-
access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted,
provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the
original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic
practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply
with these terms.
Frontiers in Psychology | 10 October 2020 | Volume 11 | Article 572526
fpsyg-11-572526 October 5, 2020 Time: 13:24 # 11
Islam et al. COVID-19 Information Sharing Behavior
APPENDIX A | Questionnaire.
Variables of the study λCR AVE α
Entertainment (Park et al., 2009) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
E1: Sharing COVID-19 information through WhatsApp is entertaining for me. 0.76 0.82 0.61 0.82
E2: Sharing COVID-19 information through WhatsApp is fun for me. 0.84
E3: Sharing COVID-19 information through WhatsApp is exciting for me. 0.72
Information seeking (Park et al., 2009) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
IS1: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp to get useful information through other’s feedback. 0.72 0.81 0.59 0.72
IS2: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp to get other’s opinion through their feedback. 0.82
IS3: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp to learn more about pandemic. 0.76
Status seeking (Park et al., 2009) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
SS1: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp, because I want others to perceive me as sociable. 0.71 0.74 0.50 0.70
SS2: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp, because I want others to perceive me as knowledgeable. 0.65
SS3: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp, because I want others to perceive me as valuable. 0.74
Socializing (Park et al., 2009) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
SO1: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp to share something with others. 0.73 0.77 0.53 0.76
SO2: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp to stay in touch with people I know. 0.77
SO3: I share COVID-19 information through WhatsApp to feel like I belong to a community. 0.69
Habitual Diversion (Malik et al., 2016) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
HD1: I share information through WhatsApp as it is a part of my routine. 0.67 0.76 0.54 0.71
HD2: I share information through WhatsApp as it is one of my habits. 0.72
HD3: I cannot stop myself sharing information through WhatsApp. 0.79
Attitude Toward Behavior (Chen et al., 2018)
ATB1: For me, sharing information about COVID-19 through WhatsApp is: (1-Bad to 5-Good) 0.69 0.80 0.57 0.79
ATB2: For me, sharing information about COVID-19 through WhatsApp is: (1-Foolish to 5-Wise) 0.80
ATB3: For me, sharing information about COVID-19 through WhatsApp is: (1-Harmful to 5-Beneficial) 0.77
Perceived Behavioral Control (Zhao et al., 2016) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
PBC1: I think it’s easy for me to share COVID-19 information though WhatsApp. 0.75 0.83 0.62 0.83
PBC2: I am confident enough, if I want to share COVID-19 information though WhatsApp, I can. 0.80
PBC3: I have time, resources and knowledge to share COVID-19 information though WhatsApp. 0.81
Subjective Norms (Cheung and To, 2016) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
SN1: My friends would think I should share information about COVID-19 through WhatsApp. 0.76 0.81 0.58 0.70
SN2: My family would think I should share information about COVID-19 through WhatsApp. 0.73
SN3: My colleagues would think I should share information about COVID-19 through WhatsApp. 0.81
Behavioral Intention (Zhao et al., 2016) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
BI1: I will verify the authenticity of information about COVID-19 before sharing through WhatsApp. 0.80 0.83 0.63 0.83
BI2: I am willing to refute rumors about COVID-19 on WhatsApp. 0.83
BI3: I will make efforts to refute rumors about COVID-19 on WhatsApp. 0.73
Actual Behavior (Oh et al., 2013) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
AB1: During pandemic (COVID-19), I transmitted information through authentic institutions. 0.78 0.87 0.68 0.86
AB2: During pandemic (COVID-19), I had only transmitted information with external source interlinkage. 0.84
AB3: During pandemic (COVID-19), I had confirmed the authenticity of information before sharing through WhatsApp. 0.85
Norms of Reciprocity (Pai and Tsai, 2016) [1- strongly disagree to 5- strongly agree]
NOR1: I would feel an obligation to share COVID-19 information with others to help them be informed. 0.76 0.83 0.62 0.71
NOR2: When I receive COVID-19 information from others through WhatsApp, feel it right to share out to help others. 0.79
NOR3: I would feel an obligation to spare time from my schedule to share COVID-19 information within WhatsApp
community, if it needed that information.
Frontiers in Psychology | 11 October 2020 | Volume 11 | Article 572526
... Also as a strategy to cope with uncertainty, the information-seeking motive for using social networks probably acquired more relevance during confinement, in which uncertainty could lead individuals to the need to seek and share more information with others through networks (Islam et al., 2020), even more so if we consider that it was difficult for individuals to share information face-to-face with their usual social support networks due to isolation. ...
... In addition, it is expected that people used social networks for activism and solidarity behaviors during confinement, since people who habitually take part in actions for helping others had to change their ways of acting and use social media to help others in need (Carlsen et al., 2021;Ramkissoon, 2020). On the other hand, the great uncertainty that characterized confinement and the pandemic situation will have meant that individuals needed to seek and share more information (Islam et al., 2020), so it was also expected to find a substantial increase in the prosocial behavior motive during confinement. ...
... During the confinement and the pandemic, the need for information meant that many people spent a lot of time using social networks (Islam et al., 2020;Lemenager et al., 2020). In addition, social networks turned out to be a tool capable of replacing, at least in part, some of the deficiencies caused by isolation, especially at the social level (Bond et al., 2021). ...
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The lockdown situation caused by COVID-19 has increased the use of social networks, which could, in turn, increase social networks addiction. This research consists of two integrated studies aimed at (1) developing and validating the Social Networks Motives Scale (SN-MotiveS) and (2) examining the relationships between the frequency of use of social networks and the motives for why individuals use social networks with social networks addiction, as well as the evolution of these variables over time before (through a retrospective assessment), during, and after lockdown. During lockdown, an online questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 482 participants (Study 1). After lockdown, 114 participants from Study 1 completed a second online questionnaire, forming a longitudinal study (Study 2). Study 1 showed a robust fit for the multifactorial structure of the SN-MotiveS with four factors (socialization, escapism, prosocial behavior, and self-presentation), supporting the external validity of the scale, and the expected correlation patterns were found with social networks frequency of use, abuse, and addiction. Study 2 showed that all the motives increased during lockdown except for self-presentation, whereas after lockdown only prosocial behavior and employment (added in Study 2) decreased significantly. Moreover, the self-presentation and escapism motives acted as mediators in the relationship between social networks frequency of use and social networks addiction. This research provides a reliable instrument to measure the motives for using social networks both during a pandemic and in normal times. In addition, it highlights the importance of paying special attention to escapism motives for predicting social networks addiction in periods of lockdown.
... Thus, participants in the CG could refer back to the information to answer the questionnaire at T2 and T3 much easier than participants in the SG, where the information was found in the middle of Snapchat videos. In fact, a recent study found that WhatsApp was a good method of disseminating information in Pakistan about COVID-19 [28], which was counter to the findings of another study in Kuwait that limited the role of WhatsApp to social interaction needs with relatives and friends, in comparison to Snapchat, which focused on cognitive, affective, and personal interactive needs [29]. ...
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Background: There is growing interest in using social media to improve pregnant women's well-being. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of social media (Snapchat) dissemination of health-promoting interventions on knowledge of oral health during pregnancy among pregnant women in Saudi Arabia. Materials and methods: Using a single-blinded parallel group randomized controlled trial design, 68 volunteers were assigned to either a study group (SG) or a control group (CG). The SG received information about oral health during pregnancy via Snapchat, while the CG received the same information using WhatsApp. The participants were assessed three times: T1 prior to the intervention, T2 immediately following the intervention, and T3 as a follow-up 1 month later. Results: A total of 63 participants completed the study in the SG or CG. According to paired t-test, total knowledge scores in the SG and CG increased significantly from T1 to T2 (p < 0.001) and from T1 to T3 (p < 0.001), but there was no significant change from T2 to T3 in either the SG or CG (p = 0.699 and p = 0.111, respectively). Using t-test, no significant differences were found between the SG and CG at T2 (p = 0.263) or T3 (p = 0.622). Also using t-test, no significant differences were found in the scores of the SG and CG from T2 to T1 (p = 0.720), T3 to T2 (p = 0.339), or T3 to T1 (p = 0.969). Conclusions: Using social media (e.g., Snapchat and WhatsApp) as a health-promoting intervention is a promising method for improving women's knowledge about oral health during pregnancy for short term. However, further studies are needed to compare social media with conventional standard lecturing methods. also, to assess the longevity of the impact (short or long term).
... The major precursor to this trend points to a lack of public knowledge and a poor attitude toward safe waste disposal of the used mask. As mentioned by Islam et al. [36], social media plays a major role in information dissemination related to COVID-19; therefore, latching on to this can help ally the need for stakeholder acceptance of sustainable approaches toward the disposal of used face masks and promotion of good environmental stewardship among the target group. According to Cudjoe and Wang [1], considerable face mask waste, if not controlled, could contribute to micro-plastic pollution. ...
Full-text available
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated daily use of face masks was at its highest, thereby creating huge public health and environmental challenges associated with the indiscriminate disposal of used ones. The present study assessed Abu Dhabi University students’ handling and disposal of single-use face masks during the pandemic. A cross-sectional study using an online survey questionnaire was used to gather data from 255 students from the target group. Face mask type was found to be significantly influenced by both the student’s gender and age, while the participant’s habit of hand washing after handling a used face mask was found to be significantly influenced by the student’s age. The student’s educational level significantly influenced group decisions regarding the most appropriate face mask to use, as well as environmental and health consequences awareness of indiscriminate face mask disposal. While the students are adequately aware of COVID-19’s impact and had good knowledge of face mask use, a high proportion professed to the unsafe disposal of used face masks in public areas, thereby adding to microplastic pollution in the environment and its associated impacts. The study alluded to the need for strengthening the participant’s knowledge, attitude, and practices as precautionary measures that mitigate the environmental effect of the indiscriminate disposal of used face masks. The findings also call for a collaborative partnership among stakeholders toward designing effective educational campaigns to minimize the environmental impacts posed by face mask disposal.
... We would like to conclude with the message that coordinated and evidence-based measures are necessary to deal with global situations of this nature, especially in the presence of the many sources of misinformation that can arise in this context. 36,37 Availability of data and material Data would be available under reasonable request and after the approval of the Institutional Review Board approval. ...
Mobility patterns have been broadly studied and deeply altered due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In this paper, we study small-scale COVID-19 transmission dynamics in the city of Valencia and the potential role of subway stations and healthcare facilities in this transmission. A total of 2,398 adult patients were included in the analysis. We study the temporal evolution of the pandemic during the first six months at a small-area level. Two Voronoi segmentations of the city (based on the location of subway stations and healthcare facilities) have been considered, and we have applied the Granger causality test at the Voronoi cell level, considering both divisions of the study area. Considering the output of this approach, the so-called 'donor stations' are subway stations that have sent more connections than they have received and are mainly located in interchanger stations. The transmission in primary healthcare facilities showed a heterogeneous pattern. Given that subway interchange stations receive many cases from other regions of the city, implementing isolation measures in these areas might be beneficial for the reduction of transmission.
... Confronting communal risks, people are easily overwhelmed by negative emotions given the unprecedented uncertainty (Aqeel et al., 2021;Liu, 2020;Su et al., 2021), and the psychological needs to be cared for and informed were prioritized during the pandemic that essentially determined one's well-being (Fattahi et al., 2020;Šakan et al., 2020). As such, interdependence and risk information sharing is important to create shared understandings and make informed decisions that support public health security (Islam et al., 2020;Lu et al., 2021;Rahimi & Abadi, 2020;Yang et al., 2021). More importantly, information sharing has been found to be a critical part of one's life satisfaction since the shared information not only helps reduce uncertainty and elicit preventive actions but also implies care and concerns from others (Jiang & Hu, 2016;Wang, 2013). ...
Full-text available
Social media become an important space where people receive and share up-to-date health-related information during the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While information sharing in social media has been shown to improve relations, reduce stress, and enhance life satisfaction, little is known about reciprocal sharing. Situated in COVID-19 pandemic, this study conceptualizes information sharing as a communication process during which sharers expect the receivers to reciprocate, while receivers feel obligated to return the favor. Building upon social exchange theory and studies on social media sharing, the study tested a model of moderated mediation in which sharing of COVID-19 information was predicted to enhance life satisfaction by encouraging reciprocal sharing, i.e., information reciprocity. Subjective norms, attitudes, and perceived usefulness of the information was predicted to moderate the mediation. The hypothesized mediation was supported by data from a survey of 511 online participants in China. Furthermore, the indirect effect appeared stronger among the respondents who found the information more useful, reported more positive attitude, or perceived more subjective norms. The findings suggest that expected reciprocation may be an important incentive for social sharing, and received reciprocation may be a central part of the mechanism through which sharing benefits the sharer. Policymakers and communicators may need to take information reciprocity into consideration when designing health information campaign to confront communal threats.
... Most of the people who read this information believe it without considering its authenticity. In a study on knowledge workers' behavior toward coronavirus information sharing through social media, Islam noted that people behave seriously toward crisis-related information, as they share coronavirus information on WhatsApp not only to be entertained and seek status or information but also to help others (26). Their study reported norms of reciprocations, habitual diversion, and socialization as motivators that augment social media users' positive attitudes regarding COVID-19 information sharing behavior. ...
Full-text available
Purpose Employee work engagement has become a major concern for managers as hardly 21% of employees are engaged in their work. Therefore, this study aims to unveil the association between ethical leadership and employee engagement. Specifically, the study explores the mediating role of trust in leader between ethical leadership and employee work engagement and moderating role of harmonious work passion in the association between trust in leader and employee work engagement. Design/methodology/approach This study collected data from 491 employees and their immediate supervisors working in various organizations (in Pakistan) through “Google Forms”. The data were analyzed through analysis of moment structure (AMOS) and structural equation modeling (SEM) was applied to examine measurement model (for unidimensionality) and structural model (for hypotheses testing). Findings The study noted that ethical leaders positively influence their subordinates to engage in their work. In addition, employees' trust in leader was noted to mediate the association between ethical leadership and employee work engagement. Finally, employees high in harmonious work passion are more likely to engage in their work when perceived their leaders ethical style. Practical implications The study suggests to management that fair dealing and involvement in decision-making (ethical leadership) improve employee work engagement as such practices build employees' level of trust in their leaders. In addition, management is suggested to give freedom to employees while selecting their tasks as it positively contributes to their harmonious work passion which ultimately benefits the organization. Originality/value Drawing upon social exchange and self-determination theory, this study is the first of its kind that explored the moderating role of harmonious work passion and mediating role of trust in leader between ethical leadership and employee work engagement.
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The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), which first surfaced in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, moved quickly around the world. People are now using social networks more often as a result of this tragedy. The purpose of the current narrative review was to look at research on social media and COVID-19 that were published in the Web of Science database. Investigations reveal that during the COVID-19 crisis, social media was utilized to spread opinions on distant learning, health care, and other topics. Therefore, using social media effectively can help governments and professionals stop the spread of this disease and even other crises of a similar nature in the future. Using a straightforward random sampling procedure, 220 respondents were divided into samples. Through a questionnaire, the researcher carried out statistical study design. The challenge is how to transfer knowledge of current best practices to the people who need it most, at a pace equal to or better than the spreading epidemic. Traditional scholarly papers, static websites, and even email are recognized for their sluggish diffusion rates. Even though there was widespread internet access throughout the outbreak, email contacts and physical interactions were still the primary means of reaching potential medical users. Another excellent illustration of the value of making material publicly available is the use of the ideas of the Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) networks. We provide an illustration of a successful and quickly shared infographic outlining useful intubation recommendations for use in operating rooms and other critical care settings during a pandemic.
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Purpose The authors investigated the effect of basic human values in the prediction of COVID-19 vaccination behavior amongst public security agents in Brazil. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 15,313 Brazilian public security agents responded to the portrait values questionnaire and a COVID vaccination behavior measure. Multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) was used to observe the order of the predicted by the theory. For hypotheses, the authors ran a series of Structural equation modeling (SEM) with direct effects between values and vaccination rate. Findings Results suggest that the values of conservation and self-transcendence positively predicted vaccination. A nonsignificative negative prediction was obtained for openness to change and self-enhancement values on vaccination behavior. Research limitations/implications Data were collected using self-report questionnaires. Practical implications Institutional management should encourage capacitation campaigns aimed at public security agents, enabling a significant increase in vaccine protection for the public security institutions. Social implications The reinforcement of conservation and self-transcendence values lead to the perception of the vaccine as a measure of caring for people in general and for the members of the ingroup, hence motivating the vaccination behavior. Originality/value The findings confirm that values encourage individuals to be vaccinated, due to their intrinsic motivation. This relationship did not appear to be clearly tested by previous empirical studies.
Purpose The aim of this study is to investigate how social media users' experience of seeking emergency information affects their engagement intention toward emergency information with a reciprocity framework integrated with information adoption model. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on reciprocity theory, indebtedness theory, and information adoption model, an integrative research model is developed. This study employs a questionnaire survey to collect data of 325 social media users in China. Structural equation modeling analyses are conducted to test the proposed theoretical model. Findings Social media users' experience of seeking emergency information has a strong effect on their perceived information usefulness and indebtedness, while perceived information usefulness further influences community norm, indebtedness, and engagement intention. The authors also found that perceived information usefulness mediates the relationships between experience of seeking emergency information and community norm/indebtedness. Originality/value This study offers a new perspective to explain social media users' engagement intention in the diffusion of emergency information. This study contributes to the literature by extending the theoretical framework of reciprocity and applying it to the context of emergency information diffusion. The findings of this study could benefit the practitioners who wish to leverage social media tools for emergency response purposes.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to extend the scant literature on the effect of abusive supervision on knowledge sharing by examining the roles of Islamic work ethic and learning goal orientation in moderating the effect. Design/methodology/approach This paper utilizes a cross-lagged survey research design to collect data from 735 employees working in the services and manufacturing sectors of Pakistan. Findings The data analysis revealed that abusive supervision has a damaging effect on knowledge sharing in the workplace. However, employee learning goal orientation and the Islamic work ethic help in mitigating this detrimental effect. Research limitations/implications The main theoretical implication is to advance knowledge on the boundary conditions that help in mitigating the undesirable effect of abusive supervision on sharing of knowledge in organizational settings. Practical implications This paper provides practical insights into mitigating the damaging effects of abusive supervision, a prevalent issue in Asian societies, through the lenses of Islamic business ethics and learning goal orientation. Originality/value This is the first study that examines the boundary conditions placed by the Islamic work ethic and learning goal orientation around the relationship between abusive supervision and knowledge sharing in the context of Pakistan.
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Purpose This study investigates the mechanism between work-family conflict (WFC) and job dissatisfaction by considering threat to family role as a mediator and role segment enhancement as a moderator. Design/methodology/approach The data were collected from 245 male and 245 female police officers using a questionnaire-based survey method through convenience sampling. Findings Results revealed that threat to family role partially mediates the association between WFC and job dissatisfaction. Role segment enhancement was also noted to weaken the association between WFC and job dissatisfaction. Moreover, the study revealed that male employees are more likely to draw a boundary between their work and family domain, which was not found in their female counterparts. Research limitations/implications The survey for this study was conducted in a male-dominant developing country, so results may be different in developed countries. The study has theoretical and managerial implications. Originality/value This study adds value to the existing literature on work-family conflicts in the perspective of source attribution and boundary management. Further, to the best of researchers' knowledge, none of the previous studies have examined role segment enhancement and threat to family role among the police workforce.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to advance knowledge on the implications of perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) on employee levels of commitment and citizenship behaviour (OCB) by investigating a trust-based mediational process in the context of academia. Design/methodology/approach The research data are collected from a sample of 736 academics through a questionnaire based survey administered in different Pakistani universities. The nature of trust-based mechanism underlying the relationships between CSR, affective commitment and OCB is determined through structural equation modelling of the research data. Findings The findings suggest that the perceived CSR is an important predictor of academics’ attitudes and behaviour in universities. Whilst the findings implicate the mediating role of trust in the process by which perceived CSR influences academics’ commitment, trust does not appear to mediate the perceived CSR’s relationship with OCB. Research limitations/implications This study utilises single-sourced and cross-sectional data, which may have resulted in common method bias. Practical implications By furnishing evidence of the beneficial effects of perceived CSR on academics’ levels of trust, commitment and citizenship behaviour, this study provides a business case for universities’ involvement in CSR. The findings are particularly useful to academic administrators and managers who are interested in nurturing positive attitudes and behaviours amongst academic staff. Originality/value There is a paucity of research on CSR in the academic work settings of developing countries. This is the first study to examine the trust-based microfoundation of CSR in the context of academia in Pakistan.
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With a purpose to comprehend intention-behaviour gap about acceptance of solar energy and solar community concept (houses and/or block of flats under specific solar power plant) among Finnish respondents, this qualitative study found respondents’ positive responses towards solar energy and their rationality and honesty in admitting their real behaviour. It focuses on the qualitative interpretation of individual’s intention that corresponds to specific behaviour. In terms of their ‘impression in principle’ by thinking solar energy as a non-polluting, inexhaustible and renewable energy source although all respondents were positive, the highest numbers were non-adopters. However, they were optimists. They mentally accepted (acceptance in principle) solar energy. They would adopt it later on after being satisfied with their mostly contextual conditions (‘impression in practical’). This study provides recommendations that are indicated to more future adoption and future research direction.
Purpose Around 87 percent of employees are not engaged in their work and 82 percent have withdrawal intentions across the globe. Considering these emerging challenges the purpose of this paper is to investigate the associations between inter-role conflicts, work engagement and turnover intention considering person-job-fit (PJF) as a moderator. Design/methodology/approach The data from 343 Punjab police employees were collected on a convenience basis through a questionnaire-based survey. The study used the second generation data analysis technique (i.e. structural equation modeling) in two stages. Findings The results found work engagement as a mediator between inter-role conflicts and turnover intention. In addition, PJF was found to moderate these relations. Research limitations/implications This study collected data from a single province of the county. The study has implications for the academicians and policymakers. Originality/value Considering the emerging challenges to policing, this study is first of its kind to examine the moderating role of PJF. This theoretical model is developed on the basis of conservation of resource theory and field theory.
This study explores the complex interaction between psychological and goal‐relevant boundary conditions that influence levels of individual engagement in a green human resource management (HRM) intervention designed to encourage employee green behavior (EGB). Data were collected from 1,112 employees in an automobile manufacturing plant. Consistent with goal‐setting theory, the level of feedback received predicts EGB. However, a three‐way interaction demonstrates how employees with high levels of autonomous motivation do not gain the expected benefits of high feedback and high goal commitment in the enactment of EGB. Instead, only those with weak autonomous motivation are affected by these goal‐related constructs. Findings suggest that both goal‐setting and self‐determination theories are relevant to green HRM interventions. Managers should consider that interventions that are effective for employees who do not have strong autonomous motivation towards the environment may not be effective for those who do.
Rumor is a potentially harmful social phenomenon that has been observed in all human societies in all times. Social networking sites provide a platform for the rapid interchange of information and hence, for the rapid dissemination of unsubstantiated claims that are potentially harmful. In this paper, we study different methods for combating rumors in social networks actuated by the realization that authoritarian methods for fighting rumor have largely failed. Our major insight is that in situations where populations do not answer to the same authority, it is the trust that individuals place in their friends that must be leveraged to fight rumor. In other words, rumor is best combated by something which acts like itself, a message which spreads from one individual to another. We call such messages anti-rumors. We study three natural anti-rumor processes to counter the rumor and present mean field equations that characterize.
Owing to the rapid development of social media technologies and the prevalence of mobile devices, social media have introduced to modern society a brand new communication platform, where various types of information are created and shared. Here, we explored the motivations of people sharing social crisis information through WeChat, one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, and identified the motivating factors that influence their sharing behavior. We proposed and examined a research model based on the theory of planned behavior, the theory of use and gratification, and the theory of prosocial behavior to better analyze and understand the WeChat users’ social crisis information sharing behavior. To test this model, we developed a study using a sample of 365 surveys collected from WeChat users. We found that in general, they share social crisis information not for entertainment, but for obtaining information from others’ comments, socializing with others, or simply completing their social media routines. Moreover, we found that habit, status seeking and reciprocity positively affect WeChat users’ attitudes towards the behavior. We also found status seeking, socializing, and reciprocity positively affect their perceived subjective norm about the behavior. In addition, it was found that consistent with the framework of the planned behavior theory, the attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control affect WeChat users’ behavioral intention significantly within the context of social crisis information sharing. This article presents a new conceptual model to explain WeChat users’ sharing behavior with regards to social crisis information, and illustrates multiple variables that affect their motivations. Our findings contribute overall to a better understanding of WeChat users’ social crisis information sharing behavior and provide important practical implications for the scientific and reasonable management of crisis information dissemination.