Guided by the frameworks of uncertainty management and sensemaking during crises, this study examined how young adults in Singapore managed uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak. Through a series of eight focus group discussions involving 89 young adults, we found that participants experienced uncertainty about the outbreak, especially when it comes to how they should protect themselves. They managed this uncertainty in two ways: while some engaged in information seeking, others engaged in information scanning. Those who did not actively seek information did not avoid it either, with some of them finding it impossible to avoid information about COVID-19, as it comes up in their routine social media use and offline conversations. Understanding COVID-19 as an illness that does not threaten young people, our participants noted only minimal disruptions to them. Instead, they were more concerned about their parents and older family members, whom they considered as more vulnerable.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research is supported by the WhatsApp Research Award and the Singapore Social Science Research Council Thematic Grant.
© The Author(s) 2020.
- health crises
- information scanning