JDR Vol.18 No.1 pp. 57-68
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2023.p0057


Information Seeking and COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors: A Comparison Between Immigrants and the Host Population in Japan

Yuanyuan Teng*,†, Tomoya Hanibuchi**, and Tomoki Nakaya**

*Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University
41 Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8576, Japan

Corresponding author

**Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

August 29, 2022
November 14, 2022
January 20, 2023
COVID-19, immigrants, information seeking, preventive behaviors, Japan

Little is known about information seeking and its influence on preventive behaviors among immigrants in Japan, despite their vulnerabilities during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study investigated information seeking about COVID-19, and examined differences with compliance with preventive measures between immigrants and the host population in Japan based on an Internet survey conducted in October 2021. We used chi-squared tests to determine the difference in information seeking and preventive behaviors between the two groups, and Poisson regression with robust standard errors to examine the association between information seeking and compliance with preventive measures. Our results show that, although the overall tendencies of information seeking and the preventive behaviors of immigrants were similar to those of the Japanese, significant differences were identified in some behavior: immigrants were more likely to acquire COVID-19 information from social networking services (SNS) and official websites in Japan, and maintain physical distance and ventilation than Japanese locals. Furthermore, immigrants’ sources of information diversified according to their sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., educational level, Japanese language skills, length of residence in Japan, and country or region of origin). Additionally, the effects of information seeking on preventive actions against COVID-19 differed according to the information sources; some information sources (e.g., SNS) had different impacts on preventive behaviors between immigrants and Japanese locals. Obtaining information from traditional media and Japanese official websites increases engagement with all five preventive measures among immigrants and four measures among the Japanese. The study highlights the importance of customized health policies for immigrants according to their behavioral tendencies.

Cite this article as:
Y. Teng, T. Hanibuchi, and T. Nakaya, “Information Seeking and COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors: A Comparison Between Immigrants and the Host Population in Japan,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.18 No.1, pp. 57-68, 2023.
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