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Information overload and fake news sharing: A transactional stress perspective exploring the mitigating role of consumers’ resilience during COVID-19

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  • Bermes, Alena

Abstract

The spread of fake news in social networks has become a major concern for various sectors of society, including retail and service providers, some of whom have suffered from decreasing sales due to misinformation consumers shared online. The current COVID-19 crisis has added to the surrounding hysteria, as fake news during crises can heighten negative behavioural responses in consumers, such as irrational panic buying or taking false medical precautionary measures. In fact, driven by the ubiquitous social media landscape, the dissemination of misinformation and the overarching overabundance of information have been major challenges of the pandemic. Given that current research offers little insight into the processes behind the sharing of fake news among consumers and that research on consumer-centred mitigating mechanisms is missing, this study explores the relationship between information overload, fake news sharing, and the overlooked concept of consumers' resilience as a potential shield as viewed through the lens of the current crisis. Structural equation modelling is applied to cross-sectional data from 241 social media users. Drawing from theories of transactional stress and psychological resilience, it is demonstrated that information overload leads to an increased likelihood of fake news sharing by increasing consumers' psychological strain. Furthermore, the study shows that consumers' resilience has the power to mitigate the drastic effects of this negative chain of influence by inhibiting each of the processual components. The results have important implications extending beyond crises. Measures should be taken to enhance consumers’ resilience amidst technology-induced stressors while altering the information environment confronting consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Bermes, Alena, 2021. "Information overload and fake news sharing: A transactional stress perspective exploring the mitigating role of consumers’ resilience during COVID-19," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joreco:v:61:y:2021:i:c:s0969698921001211
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2021.102555
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    2. Kerim Peren Arin & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos & Deni Mazrekaj & Marcel Thum, 2021. "Misperceptions and Fake News during the Covid-19 Pandemic," CESifo Working Paper Series 9066, CESifo.
    3. Cambra-Fierro, Jesús & Fuentes-Blasco, María & Gao, Lily Xuehui & Melero-Polo, Iguácel & Trifu, Andreea, 2022. "The influence of communication in destination imagery during COVID-19," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    4. Das, Manoj & Ramalingam, Mahesh, 2022. "What drives product involvement and satisfaction with OFDs amid COVID-19?," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).

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