Presentation (Project) Title

Who Do You Trust? College Students and COVID-19 Misinformation

Mentor Information

Donna Ettel-Gambino (Judy Genshaft Honors College)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected much of the population in the U.S. and around the world. There has been a plethora of misinformation in circulation regarding COVID-19 pandemic. College students are savvy with their ability to navigate social media sites may be susceptible to misinformation regarding the pandemic. In recent years, internet utilization for health information has risen. Despite convenience, health information on the internet has potential to be inaccurate and misleading. This study examines Judy Genshaft Honors College students’ preferences among resources regarding COVID-19 information and guidelines. The population consisted of students who are enrolled in the Judy Genshaft Honors College at the University of South Florida. A quantitative causal-comparative approach was used. Initially, a MANOVA was conducted to identify significant trends across groups. The independent variable was the participants’ political affiliation. The dependent variables were their sources of information pertaining to COVID-19, trust in internet resources, and use CDC as a resource. Overall, the MANOVA showed statistically significant differences between the criteria: trust in internet sources and use of the CDC as a resource. This information is the first of its kind in the area of the assessment of information (and misinformation) concerning COVID-19 in a Higher Educational Institution in the Southeastern United States. This information may assist policymakers and other key stakeholders in Florida; and nationally in identifying, designing, and implementing strategies to provide information providers with the appropriate tools that will assist them in maximizing the most effective distribution of accurate information concerning COVID-19.

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Who Do You Trust? College Students and COVID-19 Misinformation

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected much of the population in the U.S. and around the world. There has been a plethora of misinformation in circulation regarding COVID-19 pandemic. College students are savvy with their ability to navigate social media sites may be susceptible to misinformation regarding the pandemic. In recent years, internet utilization for health information has risen. Despite convenience, health information on the internet has potential to be inaccurate and misleading. This study examines Judy Genshaft Honors College students’ preferences among resources regarding COVID-19 information and guidelines. The population consisted of students who are enrolled in the Judy Genshaft Honors College at the University of South Florida. A quantitative causal-comparative approach was used. Initially, a MANOVA was conducted to identify significant trends across groups. The independent variable was the participants’ political affiliation. The dependent variables were their sources of information pertaining to COVID-19, trust in internet resources, and use CDC as a resource. Overall, the MANOVA showed statistically significant differences between the criteria: trust in internet sources and use of the CDC as a resource. This information is the first of its kind in the area of the assessment of information (and misinformation) concerning COVID-19 in a Higher Educational Institution in the Southeastern United States. This information may assist policymakers and other key stakeholders in Florida; and nationally in identifying, designing, and implementing strategies to provide information providers with the appropriate tools that will assist them in maximizing the most effective distribution of accurate information concerning COVID-19.