Coping With COVID-19 Stress: The Role of Media Consumption in Emotion and Problem-Focused Coping

Robin L. Nabi*, Lara N. Wolfers, Nathan Walter, Li Qi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique opportunity to answer the critical question: How does media use aid (or subvert) emotion and problem-focused coping with significant life stressors? Based on a national survey (N = 564) conducted on March 20–25, 2020, the week after COVID-19 was declared a U.S. national emergency, evidence offered strong support for the use and value of media, entertainment media in particular, as key aids to coping processes. Looking across a range of coping techniques, only TV/movie and music consumption emerged as a significant mediator between stress and coping efficacy, which, in turn, was significantly associated with social distancing likelihood. These and other results provide evidence for the important role that media consumption can play in supporting coping processes in ways both unique from more basic emotional regulation and beyond techniques typically recommended by health professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Popular Media
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Coping efficacy
  • Covid-19
  • Emotion
  • Entertainment media
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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