Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Psychology & health

OBJECTIVE : Our study explored whether and how media usage can mediate the path from anxiety and fear to physician-patient trust.

DESIGN : Study 1 was a population-based, longitudinal study using nationally representative data from 29 provinces in mainland China. The baseline sample (N = 3233) was obtained from February 1 to 9, 2020. Follow-up (N = 1380) took place during March 17 to 24, 2020. Study 2 was a machine learning-based sentiment analysis in which data were captured from Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, among the most popular official, unofficial, and health-related media accounts. The screened blogs from November to December 2019 and February to March 2020 were scored by Google APIs for positivity and magnitude.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES : Physician-patient trust.

RESULTS : Study 1 showed fear and anxiety affected changes in physician-patient trust through media usage, the indirect effect of which was 0.14 (0.03) and the 95% CI was [0.08, 0.19]. Study 2 indicated a more positive image of physicians after the outbreak compared to before [F (2, 3537) = 3.646, p = 0.026, partial η2=0.002].

CONCLUSION : The negative impact of anxiety and fear on physician-patient trust was mediated by media use, which can be explained by the more positive media image during the pandemic.

Chen Yidi, Wu Jianhui, Ma Jinjin, Zhu Huanya, Li Wenju, Gan Yiqun


anxiety, fear, machine learning-based sentiment analysis, physician–patient trust, public health emergency, social media