This paper explores the development and outcomes of rumor beliefs circulating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on the stimulus-organism-response (SOR) framework, our study examined how proximity to the pandemic (stimuli) influences anxiety (organism), which determines rumor beliefs and rumor outcomes (response). Further, the contingent roles of social media usage and health self-efficacy were tested. The research model was tested using 1,246 samples via an online survey. The results indicate that: (1) Proximity to the pandemic positively influences anxiety; (2) Anxiety positively influences rumor beliefs, which further positively influences rumor outcomes; (3) Social media usage strengthens the relationship between proximity to the pandemic and anxiety; (4) Health self-efficacy strengthens the effect of anxiety on rumor beliefs and the effect of rumor beliefs on rumor outcomes. This study has significant implications for rumor management during a pandemic and contributes to the literature concerning online rumors, social media, and the SOR model.
Liu, Yixuan; Qin, Ziru; Ye, Zilin; Zhang, Xiaofei; and Meng, Fanbo, "Explaining Trust and Consequences of COVID-19 Rumors on Social Media: A SOR Perspective" (2021). PACIS 2021 Proceedings. 131.
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