Media coverage of disasters potentially damages mental health. Moreover, its effects may differ as recipients may have different emotional responses toward media. The present study examined whether social capital, known to be protective against mental problems, influences a recipient’s emotional response toward news media broadcasting of natural disasters via newspapers, television and internet in Japan. Three social capital components, social participation, social support and cognitive social capital, were considered in the present study as each component reportedly had different effect on mental health. This nationwide cross-sectional survey was undertaken in 2015 among 1,200 Japanese citizens aged 15 to 79 years who were selected using the multi-stage sampling procedure. Data were collected via the drop-off pick-up method using a printed structured questionnaire. Negative and positive emotions were classified based on recipients’ responses against news media. Among 1,190 participants who reported emotions toward news media, 30.9% (368) had experienced any natural disasters, 37.4% (445) belonged to at least one formal or informal organization (social participation), 40.2% (478) had high social support, and 68.8% (819) had high cognitive social capital. High social support was associated with both reduced negative emotional response (OR 0.66, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.47-0.93) and increased positive emotional response (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.04-2.12) in multivariate analyses, while high cognitive social capital was only associated with increased positive emotional response (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.11-2.37). These results suggest protective effects of social support and cognitive social capital against news media coverage of natural disasters.
- Emotional response
- Mental health
- Social capital
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)