Anxiety and Information-Seeking

Is it good to read up on anxiety when you don’t know what to do? Yes, but only when the information is from a trustworthy source.

Seeking information when anxious might help decrease the aversive feeling of uncertainty and immediate decision‑making (Charpentier et al., 2022, p. 1). If information is negative or confusing however, this might heighten anxiety even further. Information obtained under anxiety may thus be beneficial and/or damaging. Anxiety may result in increased information-seeking as a response to greater changes, opposed to a general rise in the desire for information (p. 9). This is also true when the reason for the anxiety (e.g., a stressful social circumstance) is not related to those changes (e.g., financial changes).

This suggests that the impact of anxiety on information-seeking may “spill over” to other areas of a person’s life that are not necessarily linked to the source of anxiety. For example, individuals who reported higher anxiety during the pandemic pursued more information about COVID-19. The pandemic resulted in large differences in the environment and negative valence, which might underlie the rise in information-seeking. Increased information-seeking in response to significant changes might be adaptive. When experiencing big changes in life (e.g., moving to a different country, changing jobs, etc.), pursuing information assists in adapting to the new environment (p. 10).

Concerned about your experience with anxiety but don’t know what might help? Let’s talk about it. You can email me at to schedule your first intake session for video therapy. I look forward to hearing from you!


Charpentier, C. J., Cogliati Dezza, I., Vellani, V., Globig, L. K., Gädeke, M., & Sharot, T. (2022). Anxiety increases information-seeking in response to large changes. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 7385.