Covid-19 and political communication through media: the influence of interpersonal attraction and perceived propinquity towards the Prime Minister on Italians’ opinions and perceptions

Alessandra Cecalupo, Federica Scarci, Mara Marini, Stefano Livi


During the first phase of Italy’s lockdown, imposed after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s press conferences and live streams have been pervasive and constant. They have been, specifically, the main mean through which the Prime Minister informed Italians about the ever-changing decree-laws and guidelines concerning Italy’s lockdown. Drawing upon literature regarding communication through media, the study was aimed to understand how interpersonal attraction towards the Prime Minister could influence propinquity perceived during his press conferences/live streams, and how this dimension could, in turn, influence Italians’ opinions about the Prime Minister himself, the government in office, and the effectiveness of containment measures. Results showed that perceived propinquity was fostered by both task attraction and social attraction towards the Prime Minister. Higher perceived propinquity resulted in a positive change of opinion about the Prime Minister himself which, in turn, fostered both a positive change of opinion about the Government in office and the perceived effectiveness of imposed rules and guidelines. Implications of the present work are discussed.


COVID-19; perceived propinquity; interpersonal attraction; mediated communication

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Copyright (c) 2020 Alessandra Cecalupo, Federica Scarci, Mara Marini, Stefano Livi

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