This study compares and contrasts how key factors influence Americans’ trust in different types of media (broadcast, print, and social) as COVID-19 information sources and how people’s media trust is associated with their adoption of preventive measures. Our results from a national survey (sample = 2571) showed that age, political party affiliation, and race and ethnicity and income level were significantly associated with people’s trust in different media types as COVID information sources. Elder adults trusted print and broadcast media more, while younger adults trusted social media more. Democrats and Lean Democrats had more trust in all three forms of media than Republicans and Lean Republicans. Asians had the highest levels of trust in all three media types, while Whites had the lowest level of trust in broadcast and social media. Trust in broadcast media was found to be associated with facial mask wearing, but trust in social media, however, did not contribute to the adoption of any COVID-19 preventive measures. This study contributes to a general understanding of media trust and mediated health communication and provides nuanced understanding of how demographic factors shape media trust and the consequence of media trust during a historical pandemic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences