The Creation and Validation of the Media Impact Scale: A Psychometric Evaluation
News media has become a pervasive aspect of modern life. Increased news exposure can predict trait anxiety and reduced optimism and can cause people to prioritize their pre-existing beliefs over current unbiased news content. Many people have increasingly engaged in either news-seeking or news avoidance behaviors which have been linked both to positive and negative social behaviors. The effects of news media could be particularly impactful in a college setting where the presence of psychological distress is common. Our current study seeks to examine the development of a media impact scale. Our findings indicate that media impact consists of perception of accuracy of media (PAM), media avoidance (MA) and media distress (MD). Following fit testing of a bifactor, correlated traits and unidimensional model, it appears that the correlated traits model fits our scale the best. Scores should be assessed for each individual subscale rather than the scale as a whole. Further, each subfactor was significantly correlated to social media, political participation, and mental health self-reported measures. Additional research is needed to examine and expand upon our current understanding of the risk of news media exposure in college students.