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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 221-227

Fear and Information-Seeking Behavior Related to COVID-19 in Older Indian Adults

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sreelakshmi Vaidyanathan
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur - 441 108, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_69_21

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Background: Elderly, a high-risk population for COVID-19, are further vulnerable to mental health sequelae due to several pandemic-related restrictions. This study aimed to assess fear and information-seeking behavior related to COVID-19 among older Indian adults. Methodology: It was an online, observational cross-sectional study. An open-access e-invite to the questionnaire (on Google forms) was circulated through social media. The form contained sociodemographic details, fear of COVID-19 scale (FCV-19S), and an original questionnaire on information-seeking behavior in COVID-19. Responses of adults ≥60 years of age were noted. Analyses were done with SPSS v20, and Mann–Whitney U test was used to compare the FCV-19S scores among information-seeking variables. Results: A total of 150 completed responses were obtained. Mean age of respondents was 67 ± 5.44 years; median FCV-19S score was 11; 9.33% of respondents had significant fear of COVID-19. TV/Radio (55.3%) followed by newspaper/magazines (40.7%) were the most preferred source of information. Preventive measures (75.3%) and symptoms of disease (70%) were the most sought-after information. Those who spent more time than intended searching for information have significantly higher fear scores (P = 0.025). There was no significant difference in fear score for other parameters of information-seeking behavior and its consequences. Conclusion: Less than 10% of study population of older adults had a significant fear of COVID-19. Information sought is mostly on symptoms of disease, preventive measures, and guidelines and sought through passive sources rather than active searching or in-person. Those with higher fear scores are likely to spend more time searching for information than intended and are less likely to perceive any dysfunction due to said behavior.

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