Fake News during Covid-19 Outbreak: Differentiating Audience’s Age regarding Prior Exposure, Emotion, Susceptibility, Practice, and Forwarding Behaviour

© Media Watch | 12 (2) 251-264, 2021
ISSN 0976-0911 | E-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2021/v12i2/160150

Fake News during Covid-19 Outbreak: Differentiating Audience’s Age regarding Prior Exposure, Emotion, Susceptibility, Practice, and Forwarding Behaviour

Betina Abraham  & Megha Mandalaparthy

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India



This study aimed to explore the differences across age groups regarding factors (prior exposure, susceptibility, emotions, practice, and forwarding behavior) involved in COVID-19 (initial phase) related to fake news. Young adults (18-29 years), middle-aged adults (30-49 years), and older adults (50 years above) participated in the study by filling in a (news clip assisted) questionnaire. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using the Kruskal Wallis test, carried out for susceptibility and practice factors. Results revealed that no significant differences existed among the age groups for susceptibility to fake news and their corresponding practice behavior in response to false news. As for the factor of prior exposure, false news seemed to be more widespread than true news. Indifference, disgust, and surprise were observed to be the powerful emotions expressed in response to news across the different age groups. Forwarding behaviors across the different age groups were found to be more or less similar.


Keywords: Media, age, COVID-19, fake news, pandemic, audience, behavior




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Betina Abraham is currently working as a Research Assistant in Project MATE in the Department of Psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India. She has a special interest in cognitive and developmental psychology and exploring how various environmental phenomena impact an individual’s affect, behavior, and cognition.

Megha Mandalaparthy is currently working as a Research Assistant in Project MATE in the Department of Psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India. Her research interests lie in mental health, childhood trauma, and electronic media’s influences on the mind.  


Correspondence to: Betina Abraham, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi-110029, India.