Article Review on "The Relationship between Future Anxiety Due to COVID-19 and Vigilance"

EssayArticle Review
May 1, 2022

Lee-Won, R. J., Jang, I., Kim, H. S., and Park, S. G. (2022, February). The Relationship between Future Anxiety Due to COVID-19 and Vigilance: The Role of Message Fatigue and Autonomy Satisfaction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1062. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fijerph19031062

 Introduction

This article review tackles the research study by Lee-Won, R. J., Jang, I., Kim, H. S., and Park, S. G. titled “The Relationship between Future Anxiety Due to COVID-19 and Vigilance: The Role of Message Fatigue and Autonomy Satisfaction.” The article was published in February 2022 published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The research paper attempts to examine the mediating role of message fatigue and the moderating role of autonomy satisfaction in the public’s experience of future anxiety and willingness to remain vigilant concerning COVID-19. The study is guided by two psychological theories—psychological reactance theory and self-determination theory—which are used to explain the public’s reaction to COVID-19 messaging and the prolonged pandemic. Having been conducted in June 2021 and published in the first quarter of 2022, the study is relevant not only to literature but, most especially, to the development of responses to the prolonged pandemic. 

Main Body

The article tackles an issue that is both current and will remain relevant in the future. The authors of the article acknowledge that the public’s willingness to remain vigilant against the COVID-19 pandemic, after almost three years, has begun to dwindle. Their study, thus, focused on understanding how message fatigue and autonomy satisfaction affect the relationship between future anxiety specifically due to COVID-19, and willingness to remain vigilant. The authors’ purpose in conducting such a study is not confined to understanding the public’s dwindling willingness to cooperate with health-protective behaviors but also extends to providing a basis for the development of public health messaging in the future, particularly in the context of a pandemic. This purpose makes the study highly relevant, and it will likely remain relevant for years to come. It is a pioneer study tackling this public health problem, so it will likely inspire many other studies similar or related to it.

The research paper structure begins with an introduction that contextualizes the relevance of the research in addressing the gap so far, namely the public’s decreasing willingness to stay vigilant amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Since the paper does not include a Literature Review, the authors expound on the relevant literature that informed their research in the Introduction. The researchers rationalize the relevance of their research further by citing that little research has been conducted focusing on the prolonged pandemic as most research so far was conducted in the early phases. Nevertheless, these researches uncovered psychological factors, particularly future anxiety and pandemic-related fatigue, as the main reasons for the lowering compliance to health-protective behaviors. The section briefly goes through the chosen methodology and then the basic concepts used in the study, namely, fatigue and message fatigue. The authors define fatigue as the psychological state of being burned out or lacking motivation usually after prolonged exposure to strenuous activity or stressful events. They add that fatigue can be aggravated by anxiety because this further depletes psychological energy and cognitive resources (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022). They also explained the concept of message fatigue as the “state of feeling tired of repeatedly receiving similar messages on a given topic” (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022). The authors did not go into detail in defining these concepts and reiterated the dangers of fatigue and message fatigue in the response to the pandemic. The authors did not define nor discuss psychological reactance theory and self-determination theory as well, which informed their approach to the research problem. A discussion of these theories would have provided ample background information for the readers, as well as expound on the authors’ definition of the two theories.

The sub-section that follows delves into the study’s hypotheses. The authors presented three hypotheses: (a) “future anxiety due to COVID-19 has a positive association with COVID-19 message fatigue”; (b) “COVID-19 message fatigue shows a negative association with willingness to remain vigilant”; (c) the indirect relationship between future anxiety and willingness to remain vigilant through COVID-19 message fatigue is negative.” The first hypothesis serves as the main hypothesis of the researchers since the two succeeding hypotheses were based on them. Furthermore, based on these ideas, the authors also proposed a mediation model, which they also illustrated. The illustration shows how future anxiety caused by COVID-19 affects COVID-19 message fatigue and how the two affect willingness to remain vigilant. The mediation model is, then, modified to take into account autonomy satisfaction as a moderator. The authors took autonomy satisfaction, which is defined as “an individual’s propensity to perceive his/her need for personal volition of actions satisfied” (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022), into consideration in the development of their study based on a previous study that showed that autonomy satisfaction is an important predictor of effective and lasting health behavior change. Specifically, those with low autonomy are more likely to experience message fatigue, which in turn, triggers resistance to recommended health-protective behaviors against COVID-19. 

With the introduction of autonomy satisfaction as a moderator, the authors also presented research questions. They rationalized the choice of utilizing research questions in addition to the hypotheses for this aspect with the nature of specific patterns of moderation as difficult to predict (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022). The first research question focused on whether and how autonomy satisfaction moderates the relationship between future anxiety due to COVID-19 and message fatigue. The second question pertains to whether the third hypothesis would be moderated by autonomy satisfaction as well and how. The last research question asked “whether the direct path between future anxiety and willingness to remain vigilant would be moderated by autonomy satisfaction.

The research method employed by the researchers includes the use of an online survey to reach as many participants as possible. The authors partnered with Qualtrics a firm that partners with online survey firms in distributing online surveys to participants all over the US. Through this method, the researchers reached 1151 participants, of which 487 completed the survey. The target demographics covered all individuals aged 18 to 65 living in the US. Among the 487 who completed the survey, 47.6% were female and 78.9% were White.  

To analyze the data collected, the researchers used Ordinary Least Squares. This regression method is particularly used for analyzing data sets with multiple independent quantitative variables and one dependent variable, which is appropriate in the case of the research study being analyzed in this article review. Apart from that, the researchers controlled for potential confounders to avoid certain variables such as political orientation and loss of family or friends due to COVID-19 and its variants from influencing the outcome of the study.

The study confirmed the three hypotheses. The data showed that future anxiety has a positive association with message fatigue and a negative association with willingness to remain vigilant (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022). The study also found that future anxiety is associated with a willingness to remain vigilant, even when not moderated by message fatigue. The researchers were also able to answer their research questions. The data showed that autonomy satisfaction, indeed, moderated the relationship between future anxiety and message fatigue. This is particularly true for those with lower autonomy satisfaction, while only marginally significant for those with higher autonomy satisfaction (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022). Likewise, the mediation hypothesized in H3 was found to be moderated by autonomy satisfaction.
 

With these findings, the researchers reiterated that coping with future anxiety caused by COVID-19 may follow either emotion-focused coping or problem-focused coping. Their findings shed light on how authorities may handle the different individual responses of the public by taking into account or finding ways to avoid message fatigue. The authors rightfully mention that their study’s findings are aligned with previous research on the positive relationship between message fatigue and resistance to messaging on health-protective behaviors. However, the authors also offer a form of solution to the problem that has just been proven, namely the findings confirming the moderating role of autonomy satisfaction on the path between future anxiety and message fatigue. They suggested that people’s need for autonomy should be supported and satisfied especially in times of crisis like the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic (Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park, 2022). The findings of the study can be used to inform the development of public health messaging both in the near and far future. 

The study’s focus on the US population is a strong decision on the part of the researchers since the study remained feasible while providing a generalizable explanation of the American population’s response to the prolonged pandemic. Yet, the researchers also recognize that the aforementioned focus may also serve as a limitation in that it may only be applied to the US population, and that future research should consider testing the same hypotheses on different cultures and societies.

Conclusion

The research article by Lee-Won, Jang, Kim, and Park was critiqued based on the resource on how to analyze a research article, a complement of our article review writing service . Notably, the authors provide a comprehensive and well-thought-out research study that not only sheds light on the reasons for people’s willingness or unwillingness to remain vigilant against COVID-19 but also suggests a way to manage or, in the future, avoid such an adverse reaction.


Reference List

Lee-Won, R. J., Jang, I., Kim, H. S., and Park, S. G. (2022, February). The Relationship between Future Anxiety Due to COVID-19 and Vigilance: The Role of Message Fatigue and Autonomy Satisfaction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1062. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fijerph19031062

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