Risk perception is important in determining health-protective behavior. During the rise of the COVID-19 epidemic, we tested a comprehensive structural equation model of risk perception to explain adherence to protective behaviors in a crisis context using a survey of 572 Italian citizens. We identified two categories of protective behaviors, labeled promoting hygiene and cleaning, and avoiding social closeness. Social norms and risk perceptions were the more proximal antecedents of both categories. Cultural worldviews, affect, and experience of COVID-19 were the more distal predictors. Promoting hygiene and cleaning was triggered by the negative affective attitude toward coronavirus and mediated by an affective appraisal of risk. The deliberate dimension of risk perception (perceived likelihood) predicted only avoiding social closeness. Social norms predicted both types of behaviors and mediated the relations of cultural worldviews. Individualism (vs. communitarianism), more than hierarchy (vs. egalitarianism), shaped the affective evaluation of coronavirus. The model was an acceptable fit to the data and accounted for 20% and 29% of the variance in promoting hygiene and cleaning, and avoiding social closeness, respectively. The findings were robust to the effect of sociodemographic factors (age, gender, education, socioeconomic status, and zone of the country). Taken together, our findings confirmed the empirical distinction between affective and deliberate processes in risk perception, supported the validity of the affect heuristic, and highlighted the role of social norms as an account for why individualistic people were less likely to follow the prescribed health-protective behaviors. Implications for risk communication are discussed.

Risk Perception and Protective Behaviors During the Rise of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Italy / Savadori, Lucia; Lauriola, Marco. - In: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1664-1078. - 11:(2021), pp. 1-20. [10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577331]

Risk Perception and Protective Behaviors During the Rise of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Italy

Lauriola, Marco
Methodology
2021

Abstract

Risk perception is important in determining health-protective behavior. During the rise of the COVID-19 epidemic, we tested a comprehensive structural equation model of risk perception to explain adherence to protective behaviors in a crisis context using a survey of 572 Italian citizens. We identified two categories of protective behaviors, labeled promoting hygiene and cleaning, and avoiding social closeness. Social norms and risk perceptions were the more proximal antecedents of both categories. Cultural worldviews, affect, and experience of COVID-19 were the more distal predictors. Promoting hygiene and cleaning was triggered by the negative affective attitude toward coronavirus and mediated by an affective appraisal of risk. The deliberate dimension of risk perception (perceived likelihood) predicted only avoiding social closeness. Social norms predicted both types of behaviors and mediated the relations of cultural worldviews. Individualism (vs. communitarianism), more than hierarchy (vs. egalitarianism), shaped the affective evaluation of coronavirus. The model was an acceptable fit to the data and accounted for 20% and 29% of the variance in promoting hygiene and cleaning, and avoiding social closeness, respectively. The findings were robust to the effect of sociodemographic factors (age, gender, education, socioeconomic status, and zone of the country). Taken together, our findings confirmed the empirical distinction between affective and deliberate processes in risk perception, supported the validity of the affect heuristic, and highlighted the role of social norms as an account for why individualistic people were less likely to follow the prescribed health-protective behaviors. Implications for risk communication are discussed.
2021
risk perception, cultural worldviews, COVID-19, coronavirus, affect, social norms, health behavior, SARS-CoV-2
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Risk Perception and Protective Behaviors During the Rise of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Italy / Savadori, Lucia; Lauriola, Marco. - In: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1664-1078. - 11:(2021), pp. 1-20. [10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577331]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1560219
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