Examining Cultural Worldview and Social Media as Contributors to Reduced COVID-19 Prevention Behaviors in the U.S. and France

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This study examines how cultural worldview and social media use contribute to reduced COVID-19 prevention behaviors in the U.S. and France - two countries that face numerous pandemic-related public health challenges. Drawing from the comprehensive model of information seeking (CMIS) and a cultural cognition framework, we surveyed French and U.S. citizens prior to full vaccine rollout (2020/early 2021) to assess how individualistic (stressing individual concerns over group concerns) and hierarchical (embracing a status quo/power differences) worldviews drive information seeking processes and prevention outcomes–vaccine intentions and non-vaccine prevention behaviors (e.g. mask wearing, social distancing). Among U.S. respondents-only, findings show that holding hierarchical worldviews contribute to greater use of social media for COVID-19 information. In subsequent analyses predicting prevention outcomes, social media use among U.S. adults predicted reduced COVID-19 vaccine intentions, whereas individualist worldview across both samples independently predicted distinct COVID-19 prevention outcomes. The relationship between individualist worldview and prevention behavior was qualified by level of social media use for COVID-19 information. In particular, among U.S. and French respondents, individualist worldview negatively predicted non-vaccine prevention action at higher, but not lower, levels of information seeking via social media. Overall, the findings indicate distinct relationships between cultural worldview dimensions and social media information channels that have implications for prevention behavior.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • COVID-19 information seeking
  • cultural worldview
  • social media


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