The Effect of “Compassion Fatigue” in Practices of Media Consumption (on the Case of the Attitude to the COVID-19 Problematization)

The Effect of “Compassion Fatigue” in Practices of Media Consumption (on the Case of the Attitude to the COVID-19 Problematization)

Bogomiagkova E.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof. of the Chair of Theory and History of Sociology, St.- Petersburg State University, St.-Petersburg, Russia

Popova E.E.

Bachelor of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

ID of the Article:

This article was prepared with support from the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 18-18-00132.

For citation:

Bogomiagkova E.S., Popova E.E. The Effect of “Compassion Fatigue” in Practices of Media Consumption (on the Case of the Attitude to the COVID-19 Problematization). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 6. P. 46-56


The article presents the main results of the empirical study of the effect of “compassion fatigue” in the media consumption practices of active users of the Internet and social networks, conducted in the spring of 2020 via an online survey. The strategies of problematization of COVID-19 using by the media in current Russia were in our focus. The relevance of addressing this topic is due to two main factors: the shortage of research of complex and nonlinear relations between the media and the audience in Russian sociological discourse, and the unprecedented medical and social situation, accompanied by infodemic. The manifestations of the public burnout, the main factors of its formation, as well as some socio-demographic differences, gender first, in the perception of news about coronavirus were discovered. As a result, an increase in tiredness and irritation among respondents in the first month of the epidemic is recorded. Its strongly statistical correlation with purposeful avoidance of information about the current situation indicates “compassion fatigue” of Internet users. The assessment of news about coronavirus as dramatic and sensational is a significant factor of negative emotions, while the intensity of media consumption does not play a key role. The obtained data indicate the resistance of active Internet users to strategies of dramatization of situation. The rather rapid emotional burnout of the audience in the first wave of the epidemic is explained by the fact that today “compassion fatigue” becomes an a priori attitude. So, modern media consumption practices can be described using the metaphor of surfing on the crest of information waves

“compassion fatigue”; Internet users; media consumption; problematization; COVID-19; social networks; involvement


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Content No 6, 2021