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From the initial outbreak in December 2019 in Wuhan, with the newly identified virus named “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2), different infectious variants have emerged, confirming the importance of preventive measures. Governments invest resources in information diffusion regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and variants and precautious measures. In public health emergencies and pandemic situations, trust is critical in risk communication and risk management and trusted information providers and communication channels may lead to certain desired behavior.
The focus of this research is to examine what information sources (providers and communication channels) the Greek generation Z cohort trusts, in information diffusion regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease. It also examines if gender differences exist based on trust.
Eight information providers and six communication channels were tested for Gen Zers level of trust. An electronically distributed questionnaire collected data over a six-month period (N=1411) in 2020 (from June 1 to November 30, 2020), employing a nonprobability sampling method targeting the Generation Z cohort.
Results reveal that the most trusted provider for COVID-19 related information are doctors and scientists, while the other unofficial information providers are more trusted than official. Published academic/scientific journals with COVID-19 related research is the most trusted communication channel. Gender comparisons for information providers uncovered seven statistically significant differences and one for communication channels.
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