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AICE members David Abadi and Agneta Fisher demonstrate political and social implications of anxiety related to COVID-19 concerns.

David Abadi and Agneta Fisher together with Irene Arnaldo published a new paper, showing that anxiety about the coronavirus can lead to anger-related responses, as reflected in populist attitudes, anger at the government, and conspiracy mentalities.

The abstract of the paper is as follows:

"The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic elicits a vast amount of anxiety. In the current study, we investigated how anxiety related to COVID-19 is associated with support for and compliance with governmental hygiene measures, and how these are influenced by populist attitudes, anger at the government, and conspiracy mentalities. We conducted an online survey in April 2020 in four different countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK; N = 2,031) using a cross-sectional design. Results showed that (1) anxiety related to COVID-19 is associated with conspiracy beliefs, anger at the government, and populist attitudes, and (2) support for and compliance with hygiene measures are both positively predicted by anxiety related to COVID-19; however, (3) support for hygiene measures is also predicted by populist attitudes and negatively by conspiracy mentalities, whereas compliance with hygiene measures is more strongly predicted by anger at transgressors (anger at people transgressing the hygiene measures). Consequently, although anxiety related to COVID-19 concerns the health of individual people, it also has political and social implications: anxiety is associated with an increase in anger, either at transgressors or the government."