Media exposure predicted acute stress responses during COVID-19 outbreak in China: A cross-sectional study
The widespread pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to unprecedented psychological stress on the general public. However, the associations between media exposure and acute stress responses have not been explored during the COVID-19 epidemic. In current study, we conducted an online survey to examine the effects of media exposure on acute stress responses and recognize associated predictors of acute stress on a sample of 1450 Chinese people from February 7 to February 20, 2020. The results indicated that longer media exposure time and the use of social media were associated with higher acute stress and odds of probable acute stress disorder (ASD) after controlling for demographics. Viewing the situation of patients was associated with higher acute stress, whereas viewing latest news about epidemic data was associated with lower odds of probable ASD. Being females, living in Hubei Province, someone close to them diagnosed with COVID-19, history of mental illness, adverse life events and previous collective trauma exposures were risk factors for acute stress responses. These findings confirmed the associations between indirect media exposure to epidemic events and acute stress responses. The governments and other relevant agencies should be aware of the negative impacts of disaster-related media exposure, and implement appropriate interventions to promote psychological well-being following traumatic events.