Funny memes about COVID-19 may help people cope with the stress of the pandemic.
The study studied whether significantly anxious individuals differed from non-anxious individuals in their perceptual ratings of internet memes connected to the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst considering the mediating role of emotion regulation.
The researchers used memes from websites such as Imgur and Imgflip. They revised some of them so that they showed the same image, but with either a caption connected to COVID-19 or a caption about another topic.
The researchers first reckoned how the participants felt, including asking them how frequently in the past weeks they’d felt stressed-out and uneasy.
Some of the participants then glanced at three memes — either all related to COVID-19 or all related to different issues. Other participants viewed a description of the meme without an image, and others didn’t look at any memes at all.
Participants then reported their levels of anxiety and positive emotions — such as how calm, relaxed, and content they felt — and their sentiments toward COVID-19.
The researchers found that people who regarded memes, no matter the issue, reported happier emotions than those who did not.
Participants who viewed humorous COVID-19 related memes thought more deeply about the content, as measured by self-report questions, and had greater confidence in their ability to cope with the stress of the pandemic than people who viewed non-COVID-19 related content or the control.
As the pandemic kept carrying on, it became more and more interesting how people were using social media and memes, as a way to think concerning the pandemic. We found that viewing just three memes can help people cope with the stress of living during a global pandemic.
Public health supporters or government agencies could even use memes to share important information about stressful events with the populace. They said laughter is always the best medicine.
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