Functional fear predicts public health compliance in the COVID-19 pandemic

Journal article


Harper, Craig A., Satchell, Liam, Fido, Dean and Latzman, Robert 2020. Functional fear predicts public health compliance in the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/jkfu3
AuthorsHarper, Craig A., Satchell, Liam, Fido, Dean and Latzman, Robert
Abstract

In the current context of the global pandemic of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), health professionals are working with social scientists to inform government policy on how to slow the spread of the virus. An increasing amount of social scientific research has looked at the role of public message framing, for instance, but few studies have thus far examined the role of individual differences in emotional and personality-based variables in predicting virus-mitigating behaviors. In this study we recruited a large international community sample (N = 324) to complete measures of self-perceived risk of contracting COVID-19, fear of the virus, moral foundations, political orientation, and behavior change in response to the pandemic. Consistently, the only predictor of positive behavior change (e.g., social distancing, improved hand hygiene) was fear of COVID-19, with no effect of politically-relevant variables. We discuss these data in relation to the potentially functional nature of fear in global health crises.

KeywordsCOVID-19; pandemic response; health anxiety; social distancing; hand hygiene; public health
Year2020
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
PublisherSpringer
ISSN1557-1874
1557-1882
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/jkfu3
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-020-00281-5
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/624780
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode
hdl:10545/624780
Publication dates27 Apr 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited04 May 2020, 10:49
Accepted12 Apr 2020
ContributorsNottingham Trent University, University of Winchester, Georgia State University and University of Derby
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