Covid-19 misinformation in Portuguese-speaking countries: agreement with content and associated factors

Álvaro Francisco Lopes de Sousa*, Guilherme Schneider, Herica Emilia Félix de Carvalho, Layze Braz de Oliveira, Shirley Verônica Melo Almeida Lima, Anderson Reis de Sousa, Telma Maria Evangelista de Araújo, Emerson Lucas Silva Camargo, Mônica Oliveira Batista Oriá, Carmen Viana Ramos, Rodrigo Mota de Oliveira, Camila Aparecida Pinheiro Landim Almeida, Andrêa Jacqueline Fortes Ferreira, Jules Ramon Brito Teixeira, Iracema Lua, Fernanda de Oliveira Souza, Tânia Maria de Araújo, Inês Fronteira, Isabel Amélia Costa Mendes

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a complex phenomenon called the “infodemic” has emerged, compromising coping with the pandemic. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of agreement with misinformation about COVID-19 and to identify associated factors. A web survey was carried out in Portuguese-speaking countries in two stages: 1. the identification of misinformation circulating in the included countries; 2. a multicentric online survey with residents of the included countries. The outcome of the study was agreement or disagreement with misinformation about COVID-19. Multivariate analyzes were conducted using the Poisson regression model with robust variance, a logarithmic link function, and 95% confidence intervals. The prevalence of agreement with misinformation about COVID-19 was 63.9%. The following factors increased the prevalence of this outcome: having a religious affiliation (aPR: 1454, 95% CI: 1393–1517), having restrictions on leisure (aPR: 1230, 95% CI: 1127–1342), practicing social isolation (aPR: 1073, 95% CI: 1030–1118), not avoiding agglomeration (aPR: 1060, 95% CI: 1005–1117), not seeking/receiving news from scientific sources (aPR: 1153, 95% CI: 1068–1245), seeking/receiving news from three or more non-scientific sources (aPR: 1114, 95% CI: 1049–1182), and giving credibility to news carried by people from social networks (aPR: 1175, 95% CI: 1104–1251). There was a high prevalence of agreement with misinformation about COVID-19. The quality, similarity, uniformity, and acceptance of the contents indicate a concentration of themes that reflect “homemade”, simple, and easy methods to avoid infection by SARS-CoV-2, compromising decision-making and ability to cope with the disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number235
Number of pages12
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Biomedical technology
  • Coronavirus infections
  • COVID-19
  • Health-related behaviors
  • Misinformation
  • Pandemics

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