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Understanding an Ebola outbreak: Social representations of emerging infectious diseases

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Understanding an Ebola outbreak: Social representations of emerging infectious diseases

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Abstract

This study examined the collective image of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, to understand how people incorporate this epidemic in their everyday thinking. A free association exercise elicited by Ebola was answered by 294 people from Spain and the content was analysed using Alceste software. First, results showed that Ebola was represented as inherently African. Second, it was also depicted as a global threat creating fear. People also felt anger, and they blamed political authorities and the mass media for the failure to manage this crisis. Finally, this research underlines the importance of the social representations to understand how current outbreaks are cognitively represented and emotionally faced as a key factor to appropriately manage future epidemics.

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... & Seay, 2015;Johnson et al., 2004;Prati & Pietrantoni, 2016;Thompson & Kumar, 2011). In the cases of Ebola, SARS, and H1N1, studies of SRs in the Western press and among people have evidenced a pattern of assigning the origin and the threat of the diseases (as well as the blame) to distant victims in far-flung countries and their cultural practices or social conditions (Mondragon et al., 2016;Wagner-Egger et al., 2011;Washer, 2010). ...
... Similar highly emotional responses were also found in other parallel studies of COVID-19 representations (Colì et al., 2020). The high prevalence of these words in the free association task, indeed, confirms the important role of emotional context for the symbolic construction of a phenomenon like an EID pandemic (Mondragon et al., 2016). Moreover, the results highlight the respondents' awareness of the possible consequences of contracting SARS-CoV-2 and the high association of it with serious illness and death. ...
... It includes health consequences and origins, which, differently from other pandemics, were not used as main anchoring themes that explain the process of othering. The 'othering' process characteristic to previous representations of specific EIDs such as HIV/AIDS (Joffé, 1999), Ebola (Mondragon et al., 2016;Prati & Pietrantoni, 2016), or SARS (Washer, 2010) was less conspicuous in the case of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Links to China were fairly present in terms of assigning the origins of the virus, but this idea does not seem to be at the forefront of social representations. ...
Article
This study examined the social representations of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Italy. We used the technique of free word association involving 1572 adults living in Italy. An open coding procedure and content analysis lead to the identification of 13 key topics representing the categorisation of concepts that emerged from the elicited words. The most common categories were spread of the virus, negative feelings, life during quarantine, and health consequences of the virus. Multidimensional scaling of co-occurrences of categories revealed these categories were grouped into four thematic areas. In addition, we found that the frequency of the categories of words was associated with gender, age, well-being, and mental health symptoms. By revealing complex and differentiated social representations, results from the present study provide a comprehensive insight on Italian people's perception of COVID-19 outbreak in the Spring of 2020. This early study of social representations forms a useful basis for later studies, in order to understand how collective understandings and framings of risk have evolved across the duration of the pandemic.
... All of the findings of this research suggest that when a new EID emerges, the first collective reaction is usually to represent it as something distant, that is, something that affects other countries or other groups of people with whom we have little or no connection (Joffe, 2011). This process of othering is, in turn, closely linked to processes of blaming, since by blaming the "others", we move the representation of the disease away from ourselves, thereby protecting our identities (Idoiaga et al. 2017a;Joffe, 2011;Washer, 2010). ...
... Second, infected people in the host countries are represented as victims. However, no truly innocent victims are perceived to exist, as they are often blamed for their lack of hygiene or discipline, in line with the outward blaming patterns (Idoiaga et al., 2017a;Joffe, 2009: Wagner-Egger et al., 2011. Finally, the representation of the villains is clearly anchored in the upward blaming directed towards political authorities (Washer, 2006) along with the mass media which are blamed for manipulating the risk communication for their own agenda and, even worse, perceived as being puppets of evil powers at the highest level (Gronke & Cook, 2007;Idoiaga et al., 2017b;Rubin et al., 2010;Wagner, 1998;Wagner et al., 2002;Wagner-Egger et al., 2011). ...
... Moreover, Iramuteq software eliminates problems of reliability and validity in text analysis (Klein & Licata, 2003;Reinert, 1996) and makes it easier to account for the specificity of the representations brought to light (Aubert-Lotarski & Capdevielle-Mougnibas, 2002). Using this method, which follows a descending hierarchical analysis format, the analyst obtains a series of classes and statistical cues in the form of typical words and text segments (see Idoiaga et al., 2017a). Specifically, the software identifies the words and text segments with the highest Chi square values, that is, those words and text segments that best identify each class or idea that the participants have repeatedly mentioned. ...
Article
Objective. This study examines how people socially represent the COVID-19 pandemic in the early stage of the health crisis in Europe. Specifically, this research analyses the days before and immediately after the declaration of the state of emergency in Spain, which resulted in the entire population being placed in lockdown. Design. For this purpose, we used the Grid Elaboration Method for free association elicited by the word “coronavirus”. This exercise was completed by 1037 people from Spain. Main Outcome Measures. Responses were analysed using Iramuteq software for lexical analysis. Results. Before the state of emergency and lockdown, there was a repeat of many of the emotional and cognitive patterns seen in previous pandemics such us upward and downward blaming or feelings of anger and emotional fatigue. However, outward blaming patterns towards peers also emerged. Moreover, in the period following lockdown, we noted the emergence of new representations and emotions such as paralyzing distrust or resilience. Similarity analysis revealed that the “fear of pandemic” hides a wide variety of emotions. Conclusion. Understanding the blaming and fear processes that are linked to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain offers us practical implications for coping with the challenge of this new crisis.
... (Comment 60, period 3). Similar results were found in studies on the social representation of people regarding the COVID-19 (Rosati, Domenech, Chazarreta, & Maguire, 2020) and H1N1 (Sy & Spinelli, 2016) pandemics in Argentina and Ebola in Spain (Idoiaga, Gil de Montes, & Valencia, 2017). The researchers found social representations of villains to political and health authorities, that is, people blamed managers for failures in the administration of their health crises, in addition to corruption, which hindered investments in the health system and facilitated the spread of these diseases. ...
... According to the author, this debate between health and economy is recurrent in some epidemic contexts. Similarly, in the study by Idoiaga et al. (2017), the anchoring process emerged from feelings of anger to authorities, who had interests in pleasing entrepreneurs and not harming the economy, instead of prioritizing Ebola prevention actions. ...
... From the speeches above, there are representations anchored in social thought that emerge, as discussed by Idoiaga et al. (2017), on Ebola and, by Joffe (2013), on trans-cultural social representations of AIDS. In the speeches here presented, the social representations on Coronavirus are similar to the representations of these diseases, whose content is the "foreign condition" and the "other". ...
Article
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This study aimed to analyze the social representations of Internet users, from comments to reports on Coronavirus in the first months of the pandemic in Brazil. The research has an analytical-exploratory character, with a quantitative and qualitative approach. The data was processed by textual analysis software for subsequent examination of the content. From the selected speeches, three classes emerged - Coronavirus: politics, health and society, Distrust of statistics and Disregard for the president. The results highlight different ways of anchoring these social representations and suggest the vitality of a theoretical classification paradigm that gives value to objects, people or phenomena, ranking them in order of importance. In this study, social representations were based on negative values, and their senses converged to a unique image of discredit in institutions, governments and the media. This scenario is especially worrying because of the gravity of the crisis resulting from the pandemic in Brazil and says a lot about the past and the future of the country.
... Public health crises have historically been racialized (Elias et al., 2021). Previous literature reveals that infectious diseases that can spread easily across countries have been viewed as originating from out-groups or "others" (Idoiaga Mondragon et al., 2017). People may connect the risks and causes of a virus to the country of origin, which creates a strong emotional and political response in the public. ...
... For example, the Ebola outbreak has been linked with Africa, particularly with "other" people (i.e., Africans). This way of thinking allows people to detach themselves from the epidemic and consequently protect themselves and their identities (Idoiaga Mondragon et al., 2017). Similarly, the COVID-19 outbreak has been directly linked to China (Forgey, 2020). ...
... This demand could be expected to be strong during a health crisis of such magnitude as COVID-19. Similarly, people believe that the media should support public health officials and the government in the dissemination of information in a socially responsible way (Fung et al., 2014;Idoiaga Mondragon et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Asians, particularly those in Chinese communities, have faced increased discrimination and overt racism in addition to the virus itself. In this study, the authors examined social representations of COVID-19 in mainstream newspapers. We evaluated 451 articles from three major publications representing three countries: China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. A qualitative thematic analysis, conducted through the lens of social representations theory (SRT) and its concept of cognitive polyphasia, revealed four major themes: (a) the virus' portrayal as a threat; (b) the racialization of COVID-19 as a multi-faceted threat; (c) calls for collectivization to curb the racialization of the virus; and (d) speculative solutions to end discrimination against Asians. Our results suggest that print media emphasize the idea that global efforts must be made to change how people think about, talk about, and understand the COVID-19 pandemic.
... In fact, the risks posed by EIDs have no frontiers and thus the risk of contagion is a matter that transcends the boundaries of space and time (Beck, 2009). The globalization of risk in itself is what makes society feel, understand and assimilate the risk and this is an indispensable premise of their social representation and a basis for understanding how epidemics become embedded in our everyday thinking (Idoiaga et al., 2017a). ...
... However, other studies have concluded that there are still ambivalent emotions towards the authorities since the health and political authorities tend to be viewed in a positive light at the start of a health crisis, after which there is an eventual tendency for the public to perceive them as ineffective (Wagner-Egger et al., 2011). Finally, it is the infected people that are usually represented as the victims, particularly those who, either because they belong to a risk group or live in countries with a poor health system, are defenseless in the face of the epidemic (Idoiaga et al., 2017a). ...
... To analyze the participants' social representations of COVID-19, the Grid Elaboration Method for the free association was employed, which has been useful for conducting research on social representations of global climate change, EIDs, and other issues (Joffe and Elsey, 2014;Idoiaga et al., 2017a). This method consists of providing participants with a paper with instructions and four boxes. ...
Article
Full-text available
Spain has become one of the European epicenters of coronavirus (COVID-19), a virus that particularly affects the elderly, since this group accounts for the majority of hospitalized cases and has the highest mortality rates. Therefore, the aim of this research is to understand how elderly people represent and emotionally cope with COVID-19 during the days when the pandemic emerged in Spain. Using a qualitative methodology, a free association exercise elicited by the word “COVID-19” was completed by 115 participants (age range: 60–85 years) from the North of Spain. Lexical analysis was used to analyze the content. The results revealed that the government and the mass media are criticized for failing to communicate a clear message, and for giving out information that is both insufficient and contradictory. However, participants are clear that it is essential to follow the guidelines of the scientists and doctors, which are represented as credible sources. However, when the state of alarm and the lockdown of all citizens was declared, most of the participants represented the risk as being associated with the elderly and the pandemic became something that might also affect their families. Due to these circumstances, negative emotions appear such as fear, nervousness, uncertainty, restlessness, and insecurity. Feelings of solitude and loneliness also emerged, and these are represented as being linked to death. These results indicate the need for governments to manage the current situation with the elderly by placing greater emphasis on social and inclusive policies to help alleviate the possible effects of the pandemic and the lockdown.
... With regard to social representations of health epidemics, extensive research [9][10][11][12][13][14] has shown that the representation of EIDs is often changing during the pandemic process, even though it follows some patterns during that process [14]. In fact, worldwide EIDs were firstly viewed as originating from collective actors regarded as out-groups or 'others'. ...
... In recent studies carried out worldwide [18][19][20][21], but also in the Basque Autonomous Country [22,23] it has been found that in the COVID-19 crisis emotions of stress, depression and anxiety have proliferated, because of the fear created by the threat but also by the uncertainty or the unknown. Emotions of anger are also clearly visible, particularly those linked to the blaming process against the villains of the epidemics [13]. Finally, the combination of these emotions usually results in 'EID fatigue' [24], that is, an emotional fatigue, which is the consequence of having been bombarded with a litany of imminent infectious diseases [24,25]. ...
... In fact, some of the key emotions that have been identified in this research (such as anger or fatigue) are not usually analyzed in quantitative health research [22]. Although previous research in the TSR have pointed out that their importance is noteworthy [13,14,24] This emotional response indicates the importance of reducing uncertainty by adequately forming people and providing the necessary support and tools to overcome the situation in the best way possible. Nevertheless, information and support should also be clear and concise, because if not, as in this case, it may create anger and fatigue. ...
Article
In 2020, COVID-19, a new emerging infectious disease (EID), was spread throughout the world, including Europe. Spain, in particular, witnessed a significant outbreak of the pandemic. In consequence, all classes were cancelled and the Government declared a state of emergency, ordering the lockdown of the entire population from March to May. The aim of this research is to explore the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the representations of young university students from the University of the Basque Country and their emotional response when the crisis started. A free-association exercise was completed by 503 students from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) (Northern Spain). To analyze the content, the Reinert method was used with the Iramuteq software for lexical analysis. The results showed that students placed COVID-19 at a distance from the self, pointing out issues related to social response and disinformation, while showing concerns for self-related issues that are linked to negative emotions, academic consequences, and potentially close victims. The students’ concerns were categorized at four main levels: the communicative-informative level, health-emotional level, community-social level, and academic level. All of this has created overwhelming feelings of nervousness, along with anger and emotional fatigue. These results indicate the necessity for universities to work from a holistic standpoint, not only in terms of responding to academic needs but also from psychological, communicative, social, health, and well-being perspectives.
... Los riesgos médicos, el impacto psicosocial de la pandemia es notoria. Varias líneas de investigación han trabajado en la comprensión sobre el origen, impacto de las epidemias y de cómo las afrontan, sobre todo el aspecto emocional (Idoiaga et al, 2017). ...
... Se espera que las personas con enfermedades crónicas presenten niveles más altos de síntomas psicológicos (Applegate y Ouslander, 2020), el COVID-19 se presenta con mayor fuerza en personas con múltiples enfermedades subyacentes (Dong et al, 2020). Las personas adulto mayores se pronostica sean psicológicamente más vulnerables que los jóvenes en esta crisis (Idoiaga et al, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
En Febrero 2020, el virus SARS-CoV-2 procedente de China ha llegado a Ecuador, el 16 de marzo se declara el estado de excepción, llevando al confinamiento a toda la población. La presente investigación se contextualiza en estudiantes, docentes de Posgrado. El objetivo es analizar, a partir del Covid 19, los niveles de depresión, ansiedad y estrés en estudiantes y docentes de Posgrado, así como la capacidad de afrontamiento realizando un análisis en función de las variables sociodemográficas. La metodología consiste en recolectar una muestra de 139 estudiantes y docentes de la maestría en prevención de Riesgos Laborales, aplicar la encuesta DASS 21 para medir las escalas de ansiedad, estrés y depresión. El diseño experimental es de tipo transversal, correlacional e inductivo. Los resultados demuestran que el Síndrome de Trastorno Mental en sus tres escalas es leve a moderado existen casos severos con afrontamientos bajos de las personas ante la presencia del Covid 19. Referente a las variables sociodemográficas el afrontamiento es bajo ante la presencia de la crisis. Se pronostica que la sintomatología determinada aumentará según vaya transcurriendo el confinamiento y aumento de casos- muertes por Covid 19. Se defienden intervenciones mediante programas prevención psicológica. Se determina que a menor capacidad de afrontamiento mayor nivel de estrés, ansiedad y depresión estudiantes y docentes con niveles de poco a medio. Palabras clave: Estrés; Ansiedad; Depresión; Covid 19.
... Parte-hartzaileek COVID-19ri buruz dituzten gizarte-irudikapenak aztertzeko, elkarte askerako laukien bidezko metodoa [Grid Elaboration Method] erabili da. Metodo hori baliagarria izan da klimaaldaketa globalari, gaixotasun kutsakorrei eta beste gai batzuei buruzko gizarte-irudikapenei buruzko ikerketak egiteko (Idoiaga, et al., 2017a). Bertan parte-hartzaileei jarraibidedun orrialde bat eta lau lauki ematen zaizkie. ...
... Hori bereziki interesgarria da, larrialdi-egoera ezarri zenetik Gobernuko presidenteak herrialdearen ia erabateko kontrola hartu baitu (Espainiako Gobernua, 2020). Litekeena da hori gobernuaren konfiantza-faltaren ondorio izatea, gaixotasun kutsakorrak kudeatzeko moduagatik eta krisi honi aurre egiteko mezuen argitasun-faltagatik, beste leku batzuetan adierazi den bezala (Idoiaga et al., 2017a). ...
Article
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The negative effects of gender stereotypes on gender equality have been long acknowledged, also in the field of Law with the adoption of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women). The main objective of this work is to analyze how the legal obligation to eliminate gender stereotypes derived from CEDAW has been developed in the legislation and jurisprudence of the Basque Country. Using intersectional lens, the analysis of the legal treatment of gender stereotypes has shown that the Basque gender legislation develops the obligation to eliminate gender stereotypes, but there is still a long way to go for courts to identify gender stereotypes.
... Among the different research approaches used in the case of past epidemics or infectious diseases such as SARS (Washer, 2004), Ebola (Joffe & Haarhoff, 2002;Idoiaga Mondragon, Gil de Montes & Valencia, 2017), Tuberculosis (Ascuntar et al., 2010) and AIDS (Rodrigues, Monteiro & Pereira, 2014), social representations are particularly useful to interpret a phenomenon and to identify intervention and management policies. ...
... The social representation of Coronavirus that emerged from this study seems to be in line, in some respects, with that of other studies focused on the representations of Coronavirus and other infectious diseases. In particular, the fact that the representation of this research has aspects in common with the representations of previous infectious diseases would seem to support what has been highlighted by the various theorists and scholars, namely that the representations of new pandemics are anchored in those of previous ones (Paez & Pérez, 2020;Idoiaga Mondragon, Gil de Montes & Valencia, 2017;Washer, 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
This research aims to analyze the structure and content of the social representation of the novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, paying particular attention to socially constructed meanings, in order to understand in what way the Covid-19 pandemic is going to take form in the collective consciousness. The study involved 484 Italian citizens, recruited through snowball sampling. Data were collected using the free association technique and the inductive term "Coronavirus", by an online questionnaire administered between April 17 and April 26, 2020. Participants were also asked to clarify the meaning of each of the three words elicited. The corpus of words was analyzed by using EVOC 2005 software, adopting a structural approach and following the prototypical method. The corpus of sentences related to the meanings of the words has been analyzed through an inductive content analysis supported by Nvivo10 software. The social representation of Covid-19 is structured around fear, which represents the shared emotion that revolves around the risk of contagion and the current pandemic state. Alongside these elements that constitute the central system, the representation is enriched with further terms located in the near peripheries, probably shared by certain subgroups and related to physical consequences, to the daily situation of quarantine, and knowledge about the virus. The other elements related for example to specific feelings, to the perception of Papers on Social Representations, xx (x), x.1-x.29 (2020) [http://psr.iscte-iul.pt/index.php/PSR/index] x.2 danger, or the protection are probably anchored to subjective experiences. Some relevant aspects, such as parallelism with other representations, the role of the media, and emotions, have been identified and discussed.
... Parte-hartzaileek COVID-19ri buruz dituzten gizarte-irudikapenak aztertzeko, elkarte askerako laukien bidezko metodoa [Grid Elaboration Method] erabili da. Metodo hori baliagarria izan da klimaaldaketa globalari, gaixotasun kutsakorrei eta beste gai batzuei buruzko gizarte-irudikapenei buruzko ikerketak egiteko (Idoiaga, et al., 2017a). Bertan parte-hartzaileei jarraibidedun orrialde bat eta lau lauki ematen zaizkie. ...
... Hori bereziki interesgarria da, larrialdi-egoera ezarri zenetik Gobernuko presidenteak herrialdearen ia erabateko kontrola hartu baitu (Espainiako Gobernua, 2020). Litekeena da hori gobernuaren konfiantza-faltaren ondorio izatea, gaixotasun kutsakorrak kudeatzeko moduagatik eta krisi honi aurre egiteko mezuen argitasun-faltagatik, beste leku batzuetan adierazi den bezala (Idoiaga et al., 2017a). ...
Conference Paper
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The size of the cooperative is, according to most of the literature, a source of degeneration that especially affects its democratic system. At the same time, size provides many cooperatives with an often undeniable survival insurance. On the basis of a case study of a cooperative belonging to the Mondragon Corporation, the democratic system of governance of large cooperatives has been analysed and its weaknesses identified. From this diagnosis, the basis for a solution to the democratic tendency of degeneration generated by size is proposed.
... Parte-hartzaileek COVID-19ri buruz dituzten gizarte-irudikapenak aztertzeko, elkarte askerako laukien bidezko metodoa [Grid Elaboration Method] erabili da. Metodo hori baliagarria izan da klimaaldaketa globalari, gaixotasun kutsakorrei eta beste gai batzuei buruzko gizarte-irudikapenei buruzko ikerketak egiteko (Idoiaga, et al., 2017a). Bertan parte-hartzaileei jarraibidedun orrialde bat eta lau lauki ematen zaizkie. ...
... Hori bereziki interesgarria da, larrialdi-egoera ezarri zenetik Gobernuko presidenteak herrialdearen ia erabateko kontrola hartu baitu (Espainiako Gobernua, 2020). Litekeena da hori gobernuaren konfiantza-faltaren ondorio izatea, gaixotasun kutsakorrak kudeatzeko moduagatik eta krisi honi aurre egiteko mezuen argitasun-faltagatik, beste leku batzuetan adierazi den bezala (Idoiaga et al., 2017a). ...
Conference Paper
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Development agencies, as key agents in local development, have been promoting development projects in different counties and municipalities of the Basque Country for years. On the other hand, the Social Economy brings together diverse organizations that aim to satisfy the needs of their partners and society and promote socioeconomic transformation. This article describes various initiatives carried out by the development agencies of the Basque Country to promote the Social Economy. To this end, first, an approach has been made to local development, the Social Economy and the general framework of public intervention for its promotion.
... Los riesgos médicos, el impacto psicosocial de la pandemia es notoria. Varias líneas de investigación han trabajado en la comprensión sobre el origen, impacto de las epidemias y de cómo las afrontan, sobre todo el aspecto emocional (Idoiaga et al, 2017). ...
... Se espera que las personas con enfermedades crónicas presenten niveles más altos de síntomas psicológicos (Applegate y Ouslander, 2020), el COVID-19 se presenta con mayor fuerza en personas con múltiples enfermedades subyacentes (Dong et al, 2020). Las personas adulto mayores se pronostica sean psicológicamente más vulnerables que los jóvenes en esta crisis (Idoiaga et al, 2017). ...
Preprint
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En Febrero 2020, el virus SARS-CoV-2 procedente de China ha llegado a Ecuador, el 16 de marzo se declara el estado de excepción, llevando al confinamiento a toda la población. La presente investigación se contextualiza en estudiantes, docentes de Posgrado. El objetivo es analizar, a partir del Covid 19, los niveles de depresión, ansiedad y estrés en estudiantes y docentes de Posgrado, así como la capacidad de afrontamiento realizando un análisis en función de las variables sociodemográficas. La metodología consiste en recolectar una muestra de 139 estudiantes y docentes de la maestría en prevención de Riesgos Laborales, aplicar la encuesta DASS 21 para medir las escalas de ansiedad, estrés y depresión. El diseño experimental es de tipo transversal, correlacional e inductivo. Los resultados demuestran que el Síndrome de Trastorno Mental en sus tres escalas es leve a moderado existen casos severos con afrontamientos bajos de las personas ante la presencia del Covid 19. Referente a las variables sociodemográficas el afrontamiento es bajo ante la presencia de la crisis. Se pronostica que la sintomatología determinada aumentará según vaya transcurriendo el confinamiento y aumento de casos- muertes por Covid 19. Se defienden intervenciones mediante programas prevención psicológica. Se determina que a menor capacidad de afrontamiento mayor nivel de estrés, ansiedad y depresión estudiantes y docentes con niveles de poco a medio. Palabras clave: Estrés; Ansiedad; Depresión; Covid 19.
... There may have been more information on the virus in the Basque Autonomous Community, since it arrived there a month and a half after China, and such knowledge of the pandemic might explain the lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Meanwhile, when the sample was taken, in the first few days of the epidemic in Spain, the Spanish people had still not realized the pandemic's scope in their own territory, since they could still associate the epidemic with a distant problem affecting others, China for example 4,18 . ...
... But there is much misinformation: for example, lay people often wear surgical masks and gloves, although health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) caution that they are not useful or necessary to avoid infection in healthy individuals 7 . For all these reasons, it is important to ensure effective public health risk communication, and both physicians and authorities should be prepared to report information to the public effectively and directly in emergency situations like the one we are now experiencing 4,26,27 . ...
Article
The SARS-CoV-2 virus reached Spain in March 2020, and a nationwide state of alert was declared on March 14th, leading to the confinement of the entire population. The current study was conducted in the Basque Autonomous Community in northern Spain. The authors analyzed stress, anxiety, and depression with the arrival of the virus and the levels of symptoms according to age, comorbidity, and confinement. Levels of anxiety, stress, and depression were measured in a sample of 976 adults, using the DASS scale (Depression Anxiety, and Stress Scale). Although levels of symptoms were generally low at the start of the alert, younger individuals with chronic diseases reported more symptoms than the rest of the population. The study also detected higher levels of symptoms after the stay-at-home order was issued. Such symptoms are predicted to increase as the confinement continues. The authors propose psychological interventions for prevention and treatment in order to mitigate the pandemic’s psychological impacts.
... We suggest that the public social images of Ebola and H1N1 were quite different from each other and that difference contributed to a difference in public fear of infection from them. From press coverage Ebola had a more lethal image than did H1N1 (Mondragon et al., 2016). ...
... Finally there is the matter of the social representation of Ebola. Nahia Mondragon et al. (2016) drawing on Social Representations Theory (SRT) argue that it is important to investigate how people incorporate the image of disease in general and Ebola in particular into their understanding of daily life events. This understanding influences their general fear response to the contagious outbreak, to the trust they hold in responding institutions, and to the behavioral coping mechanism they employ. ...
Article
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The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between vaccination hesitancy and fear, trust, and expectation of a potential imminent and proximate outbreak of Ebola. Our hypothesis is that people engage in self-protective behavior against an infectious disease when they are: fearful about things in general; trustful of government's ability to control the disease outbreak; and anticipating a direct threat to their health. The self-protective behavior we examine is the intention to accept a prospective anti-Ebola vaccination. We examine these relationships with basic demographic variables taken into account: gender, age, ethnicity, race and education. The data source is a national random sample of 1,018 United States adults interviewed early during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. We constructed a new three-item Exposure Expectancy Scale (alpha = 0. 635) to measure the degree of respondents' expectancy of a potential nearby Ebola outbreak. Our data analysis employs multiple logistic regressions. The findings support our hypothesis: willingness to take the Ebola vaccination is positively associated with a generalized sense of fear, trust in the government's ability to control an outbreak of the disease, and expectation of a potential Ebola outbreak that is imminent and proximate. The addition of the exposure expectancy variable in this analysis adds significantly to our understanding of contributors to vaccine hesitancy.
... It is an excessive fear of certain triggering stimuli that manifest in different ways in people. [3][4][5] Therefore, different authors suggest to carry out more studies regarding the presence of anxiety in university students of health sciences. They also recommend to analyze its association with various sociodemographic factors, such as gender, age, type of university among others, since nowadays there is no consensus on which factors trigger anxiety in these young people. ...
... For this reason, many governments of different countries established the mandatory social isolation as an urgent measure. Hence, the adaptation to a virtual study mode for students in general [3,10,[29][30][31] has been a necessity. Virtual classes in this context, as has been done since March to date (October 2020), represent new challenges for university students of health sciences since the lack of adaptation to this situation could affect their academic development. ...
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Aim: The COVID-19 pandemic has generated much concern worldwide. Due to its high transmissibility, many young university students have had to carry out their academic activities in mandatory social isolation, which could generate excessive anxiety. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the anxiety levels in Peruvian dentistry students developed during COVID-19 mandatory social isolation. Materials and methods: An analytical, observational, and transversal study was carried out in 403 dentistry students in the last two years from three Peruvian universities from May to July 2020. The Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale was used to detect anxiety symptoms and their respective diagnoses. A logit model was used to evaluate the association of the variables: age group (X1), gender (X2), type of university (X3), and marital status (X4), with the anxiety levels of the students, considering a p-value less than 0.05. Results: The prevalence of anxiety resulted in 56.8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 51.9-61.7) of 403 dentistry students. According to the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the type of university was the only variable that demonstrated to have a significant influence on the development of anxiety with an odds ratio (OR = 1.98; CI: 1.29-3.02); whereas the other variables such as age group (OR = 0.77; CI: 0.49-1.20), gender (OR = 1.15; CI: 0.72-1.84), and marital status (OR = 0.75; CI: 0.35-1.60) were not considered factors that influenced the development of anxiety. Conclusion: More than a half of the Peruvian dentistry students from three universities showed mild-to-severe anxiety levels. Students from a private university have a 98% higher chance of developing anxiety in comparison to students from public universities. Other variables such as gender, age group, or marital status were not considered influencing factors to develop anxiety.
... The heroes are typically the scientific and medical experts who work to beat the disease, while villains are the media and governments (Washer, 2010). The victims are represented as the infected people, particularly those who are defenseless to face the epidemic (Idoiaga et al., 2017b). ...
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COVID-19, a new Emerging Infectious Disease (EID), has spread throughout the world, including Europe. Spain, in particular, has witnessed a significant outbreak of the pandemic. All classes have been cancelled and the Government have declared a state of emergency, ordering the lockdown and confinement of the entire population. All children in the country have been confined to their homes since March 13 and are not allowed to leave at any time. This population is thus facing the harshest restrictions. Given the vulnerable situation of children, the aim of this research is to understand how they represent and emotionally cope with the COVID-19 crisis. A free association exercise elicited by the word “coronavirus” was completed by 228 children (age range: 3-12 years) from the North of Spain. To analyse the content, we employed the Reinert method with Iramuteq software for lexical analysis. The results revealed that children represent the COVID-19 as an enemy that is being fought by the doctors. Children are afraid and worried about catching the virus, but mainly because they think they can infect their grandparents, and this makes them feel guilty. Moreover, the lockdown situation has produced conflicting emotions in the children. On the one hand, they are scared, nervous, lonely, sad, bored and angry, but they also feel safe, calm and happy with their families. These results indicate the need for Governments to also consider children in their management of the current situation by placing greater emphasis on social and inclusive policies to help alleviate the possible effects that they may suffer as a consequence of the pandemic and the lockdown. In short, there is a need to address the psychological, educational, social, health, and wellbeing needs of children.
... Los riesgos para la salud física y el impacto psicológico, y social de esta pandemia son indiscutible. Varias líneas de investigación han trabajado en la comprensión de cómo la sociedad define el origen y el impacto de las pandemias y cómo las afrontan, siendo el afrontamiento emocional clave en este proceso (Idoiaga et al., 2017). En esta situación insólita es difícil predecir con exactitud y poder estimar las consecuencias psicológicas y emocionales de la COVID-19. ...
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El presente estudio pretende determinar la prevalencia de síntomas de ansiedad por la pandemia de COVID-19 y la enfermedad crónica de sus parientes en estudiantes universitarios salvadoreños. El estudio es de tipo descriptivo con diseños retrospectivo y transversal. Se utilizó un muestreo no probabilístico, mediante la técnica bola de nieve. La muestra fue de 1.440 estudiantes universitarios de ambos sexos. La técnica de recolección de datos fue la encuesta. La media de edad total es de 26.84 años, con una SD de 6.55. En los hombres, la media de edad es de 27.85 años, con SD de 7.18; y en las mujeres, de 26.14 años, con SD de 5.98. Los resultandos indican que los grupos más afectados psicológicamente son el de las mujeres y el de 18 a 23 años de edad. Existe una asociación estadística entremayor afectación las mujeres. En el nivel de gravedad de la ansiedad por COVID-19, son más prevalentes los niveles moderados y severos. la ansiedad producida por la COVID-19 y el sexo femenino, presentando mayor afectación las mujeres. En el nivel de gravedad de la ansiedad por COVID-19, son más prevalentes los niveles moderados y severo
... The pandemic has not only brought the risk of death from the viral infection but also caused unbearable psychological pressure on people [3]. Studies conducted on previous pandemics have focused on understanding how the communities define the origin and impact of the pandemics and how they deal with them emotionally [4]. The studies conducted in China, the first country to be affected by the psychological and emotional consequences of COVID-19, have shown that obscurity and uncertainty have caused stress, anxiety, depression, and somatization, and can also lead to the development of negative behaviour, such as increasing alcohol and tobacco consumption [5]. ...
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Aim: The COVID-19 pandemic that started in China in December 2019 is spreading rapidly in Turkey and other parts of the world. The pandemic has not only brought the risk of death from infection, but also brought an irresistible psychological pressure. Especially, this pressure has increased due to the lockdown applied in the country. In this study, we aimed to reveal the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey on the anxiety levels of university students. Materials and Methods: This study was carried out in Turkey with a total of 1704 students studying in different cities and at different higher education institutions. "Personal Information Form" and "Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale" consisting of 7 items were used as the data collection tools. SPSS for Windows 24 program was used for the analyses of study data. T-test statistics, One-way analysis of variance, Pearson correlation, and Ordinal Logit Regression Analysis test statistics were used for the comparison of data. Results: The Cronbach's alpha value for the total score of the GAD scale was found to be 0.90. Concerning the effect of stress factors of the students on the GAD levels, the results of the study revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between the GAD levels and age, gender, educational level, type of family income, the positivity of COVID-19 in the family, individual, and vicinity, family economy, educational background, daily life routines, negative effects on the social life, and access to a protective mask (p<0.05; p<0.001). Discussion: This study highlights the potential effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the students, and when the results obtained are evaluated , it was seen that this pandemic had a high effect on the mental health of the students. As a result, it is recommended to monitor the mental health of university students during pandemics.
... Further, the perceived risk and fear of illness among community members may not be aligned with that of the humanitarian community so understanding a situation, perhaps through Focused Ethnographic Studies [53], while also engaging with a community, is critical. Without knowing how Ebola is cognitively represented or emotionally faced may hamper social and behavior change efforts at a time when response timeliness is so critical for population health [54]. ...
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Introduction Due to the close relationship between EVD and nutrition, the humanitarian community implemented various nutrition-specific and -sensitive interventions to stem the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. Little, however, is known about stakeholder and community members’ perspectives toward this response in Guinea. Therefore, we aimed to firstly understand how EVD may have influenced the nutrition situation; and secondly to assess the perceived acceptability and effectiveness of the nutrition response. Materials and methods Using 27 in-depth interviews conducted in April–May 2016, this descriptive, qualitative study had three iterative phases in an emergent design. Phase 1 explored the perceptions of 11 high-level policy and management staff. Phase 2 assessed the views of 16 community members, survivors, and front-line workers. Phase 3 compared the qualitative findings to relevant nutrition indicators from secondary data for final interpretations. A systematic, team-based coding approach using Dedoose software identified key themes during textual analysis. Results Overall, several plausible pathways through an interrelated network of bio-social factors help describe EVD impacts on the nutrition situation of Guinea. At a basic level, complex social dimensions of health, response unpreparedness, and market disruptions were perceived to be major determinants affecting the nutrition situation, especially among IYC. At an underlying level, household food security was negatively impacted, along with weakened care-seeking practices, IYC feeding practices, and coping strategies. Consequently, treatment coverage for childhood illnesses and IYC diets were negatively impacted during the outbreak. In hindsight, most participants had positive perceptions toward the overall EVD response, but described salient considerations for improving upon this nutrition response during future outbreaks. Discussion This study highlighted the complex web of inter-related factors through which EVD was perceived to impact the nutrition situation in Guinea. Considering the multi-level social and behavioral dimensions of health and nutrition is critical for effectively responding to infectious disease outbreaks.
... Building on previous literature examining the importance of media framing in public health disease outbreaks (Idoiaga-Mondragon et al., 2017;Wallis & Nerlich, 2005), and drawing on the methodology and theoretical principles of media framing theory, this study analyzed online news stories published between January 1, 2020, and February 29, 2020, by CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, and People's Daily. The choice of ...
... Las representaciones sociales sobre las enfermedades (Eicher & Bangerter, 2015;Eslava Albarracín & Puntel de Almeida, 2002, Idoiaga Mondragon, Gil de Montes, & Valencia, 2017, especialmente cuando se convierten en epidemias o pandemias, marcan la agenda de los medios (Idoiaga Mondragon, Gil de Montes, & Valencia, 2018). El interés público en la salud se remonta a la antigüedad desde episodios como la extraña muerte de Alejandro Magno (García Gual, 2012), o los registros de la primera epidemia importada desde España a través de los cerdos que trajo Colón en su segundo viaje al nuevo continente (Muñoz-Sanz, 2006;Cordero del Campillo, 2001). ...
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Introducción: El COVID-19 modificó radicalmente las agendas informativas de los medios de comunicación, considerando el vuelco que provocó en la economía global y la cotidianidad de las personas. En este contexto, los medios han sido referentes en la construcción de la realidad y la información pública durante la pandemia. Objetivos: La presente investigación identificó los personajes, instituciones, territorios, temas, controversias y estilos de vida asociados a la pandemia del COVID-19, revelados a través de los contenidos de dos medios de comunicación de Ecuador y Colombia. Metodología: Empleando el Método Histórico-Discursivo (MHD), se analizaron los artículos sobre COVID-19 publicados en la versión digital de los periódicos Expreso, de Guayaquil (Ecuador), y El País, de Cali (Colombia) durante los meses de marzo y abril de 2020. Resultados: El análisis reveló las tensiones entre el ejercicio político y las prioridades sanitarias. Se denota que los alcaldes de Guayaquil y Cali fueron el foco de la información, y que se priorizaron los datos epidemiológicos y la información sobre medidas sanitarias. Conclusión: Nuestro estudio estableció que el cubrimiento sobre el COVID-19 enfocado en los datos de la pandemia, no contribuyó a que los ciudadanos asimilaran el riesgo de la enfermedad, y a que mantuvieran estilos de vida que hicieron que el número de contagios creciera de forma exponencial.
... The second aim was to examine the mechanisms underlying support for retributive and assistance measures. Opinions regarding containment measures are typically informed by attributions of responsibility, blame, and deservingness (Joffe, 2011;Mondragon, Gil De Montes, & Valencia, 2017;Van Vugt & Park, 2009). Accordingly, support for containment measures is often exemplified by the lay logic: 'Good people deserve good treatment, bad people deserve bad treatment' (Crandall & Beasley, 2001;Lerner, 1977;Staerkl e & Cl emence, 2004). ...
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, societies face the formidable challenge of developing sustainable forms of sociability-cumsocial-distancing-enduring social life while containing the virus and preventing new outbreaks. Accordant public policies often balance between retributive (punishment-based) and assistance (solidarity-based) measures to foster responsible behaviour. Yet, the uncontrolled spreading of the disease has divided public opinion about which measures are best suited, and it has made salient group disparities in behaviour, potentially straining intergroup relations, elevating heated emotions, and undercutting coordinated international responses. In a 2 9 2 between-subjects experiment, British citizens (N = 377) read about national ingroup or outgroup members (categorical differentiation), who were either conforming to or deviating from the corona regulations (normative differentiation). Participants then reported moral emotions towards the target national group and indicated support for public policies. In general, support for assistance policies outweighed support for retributive measures. Second, however, norm deviation was associated with less positive and more negative moral emotions, the latter category further relating to more punitiveness and less assistance support. Finally, respondents who read about norm-violating outgroup members especially reported support for retributive measures, indicating that people might use norm deviation to justify outgroup derogation. We discuss implications for policymakers and formulate future research avenues. The rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 disease has made salient disparities in responding to the pandemic. Country governments are adopting a wide array of potentially effective containment measures, often walking a tight rope between assistance (e.g., information and sensitization campaigns) and retributive measures (e.g., penalty fees for citizens
... Beyond the medical risks, the psychological and social impact of this pandemic is indisputable. A number of previous research studies have focused on understanding how society defines the origin and impact of emerging infectious diseases, underlining the importance of being able to cope with such crises on an emotional level (Idoiaga et al., 2017a). ...
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Spain has been in a state of emergency since 14th March due to the COVID-19 crisis. This state of emergency means that the population must comply with strict rules such as lockdown (confinement to their homes except for essential trips) and social distancing. The aim of this study was to examine the psychological state of the general population in a sample recruited in Northern Spain. Sociodemographic and psychological data were gathered, assessing variables such as stress, anxiety, and depression. A questionnaire was administered at the beginning of the lockdown and three weeks later. The sample was recruited using an online questionnaire by means of a non-probabilistic snowball sampling methodology. A total of 1,933 people participated in this study. The results reveal that more than a quarter of the participants have reported symptoms of depression (27.5%), anxiety (26.9%) and stress (26.5%) and as the time spent in lockdown has progressed, psychological symptoms have risen. In relation to gender, data indicate that men have higher levels of depression than women, and similar levels of anxiety and stress. Greater symptomatology has also been found among the younger population and in people with chronic diseases. We discuss the need to continue carrying out these types of studies to prevent and treat psychological problems that could emerge amidst this pandemic.
... VertigO -la revue électronique en sciences de l'environnement, volume 19 numéro 3 | décembre 2019 notamment du risque (Joffe, 2003 ;Idoiaga Mondragon et al, 2016). Elle s'avère particulièrement adaptée à l'étude socio-spatiale du risque-tique. ...
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Le risque sanitaire lié aux morsures de tiques est prégnant dans tous les pays, et la France est largement concernée par celui-ci, notamment face à la borréliose de Lyme. Toutefois, peu d’études scientifiques s’intéressent aux représentations que la population a de ce risque et notamment la manière qu’elle a de le spatialiser. C’est pour cela que cette étude s’appuie sur une lecture systémique de la théorie des représentations sociales et plus particulièrement des représentations socio-spatiales en lien avec la notion de risque. De courts entretiens semi-directifs utilisant l’association libre ont été mobilisés en France sur les zones de Clermont-Ferrand et des Combrailles (n =143). Les résultats obtenus mettent en évidence un système articulant plusieurs objets de représentation avec une prédominance des éléments de santé dans la représentation du risque tiques autour de la maladie de Lyme. Toutefois, deux autres univers de référence font sens dans la représentation : les animaux et la nature. Il y a ainsi bien une articulation socio-spatiale du risque tique, mais qui tend à influencer négativement la représentation de la nature et plus spécifiquement de la forêt. Les stratégies de prévention doivent donc plus s’intéresser à cette dimension spatialisée de la représentation en améliorant une connaissance locale du risque et en prenant en compte son évolution liée au changement climatique.
... Online media thus played a role in public circulation of fear and hysteria, and also contributed to (improper) psychosocial management of affected persons. To demonstrate this, Mondragon, de Montes and Valencia (2017) showed that laypersons' social representations depicted Ebola as being definitively African (particularly in being linked to poverty), along with portrayals of dread about entering the affected countries and 'backward' Africa lacking competence to manage the disease. Localised social support for and stigma towards survivors added to the global fears originating in high-income countries, detracting from public education, as well as from the political and economic challenges in the affected regions (Foster & Dashwood, 2014). ...
Article
The 2014 Ebola outbreak in three African states transformed the virus into a social reality in which media representations contributed to globalised hysteria and had rhetorical effects. This study investigated representations of the Ebola virus/disease in South African news reports (March 2014–June 2015). Four discourses were found to operate within the globalised social context: threat to humanity, predation, invasion, and conspiracy. The South African reportage framed Ebola as a predator and criminal rather than using stock warfare imagery. Representations indicated alignment with phobic high-income countries and colonial hegemony.
... Analysis of Twitter images is encouraged by the rich visual potential of Ebola, including imagery about Africa at the time that the virus appeared as a global threat [13]; its visually dreadful symptoms; or the sexual particularity of the transmission. As Sander L. Gilman [14] underlined, 'icons of disease appear to have an existence independent of the reality of any given disease.' ...
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1. Background: While many studies analyze the functions that images can fulfill during humanitarian crises or catastrophes, an understanding of how meaning is constructed in text–image relationships is lacking. This article explores how discourses are produced using different types of text–image interactions. It presents a case study focusing on a humanitarian crisis, more specifically the sexual transmission of Ebola. 2. Methods: Data were processed both quantitatively and qualitatively through a keyword-based selection. Tweets containing an image were retrieved from a database of 210,600 tweets containing the words “Ebola” and “semen”, in English and in French, over the course of 12 months. When this first selection was crossed with the imperative of focusing on a specific thematic (the sexual transmission of Ebola) and avoiding off-topic text–image relationships, it led to reducing the corpus to 182 tweets. 3. Results: The article proposes a four-category classification of text–image relationships. Theoretically, it provides original insights into how discourses are built in social media; it also highlights the semiotic significance of images in expressing an opinion or an emotion. 4. Conclusion: The results suggest that the process of signification needs to be rethought: Content enhancement and dialogism through images have a bearing on Twitter’s use as a public sphere, such as credibilization of discourses or politicization of events. This opens the way to a new, more comprehensive approach to the rhetorics of users on Twitter.
... The existing literature on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the presence of significant psychological symptoms, with the risk of serious repercussions on global mental health in both the short and long terms (for a review see [55]). However, previous research supported the need to underline, together with the analysis of psychobiosocial outcomes linked to the spread of infectious diseases, also the factors that allow us to face such critical events at an emotional level [56]. Therefore, this study aimed to deepen the variables which may have a protective effect from subjective distress during the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring the pathways between satisfaction with life and perceived stress, also considering the role of approach coping, positive attitude, and mature defense mechanisms in this relationship. ...
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The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic represents a worldwide emergency, which may have harmful consequences on people’s mental health. Parallel to research focused on risk factors, it could be useful to investigate the factors that help to cope with such crises at an emotional level. Therefore, this study aimed to strengthen the role of variables that protect from subjective distress during the COVID-19 pandemic, explore the pathways between satisfaction with life and perceived stress, and consider the role of coping strategies and defense mechanisms in this relationship. A sample of 1102 Italian participants who were experiencing the COVID-19 lockdown measures (Mage = 34.91, SD = 11.91) completed an online survey in which the Ten Item Perceived Stress Scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory and Forty-Item Defense Style Questionnaire were included. The data were analyzed using Pearson’s r correlations and moderation analysis. A chained-mediation model showed that the relationship between life satisfaction and perceived stress is partially mediated by approach coping, positive attitude and mature defenses. This study contributes toward gaining a better understanding of a protective pathway for mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings could be useful from both a preventive and an intervention perspective.
... The first identifies the social sciences and humanities students and shows the emotional evaluation aspects of the situation. For these students, the quarantine invokes all negative feelings, such as anxiety and fear, as reported in some studies previously interviewed on the subject (Idoiaga Mondragon, et al., 2017b;Lee, Jobe, Mathis, & Gibbons, 2020). The second distinguishes the life sciences students and is strongly focused on the descriptive aspects of the situation: a pandemic that has determined the need to lock themselves in for a long period of quarantine. ...
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Social representations theory offers a useful framework to analyze the construction of lay explanations of social risks. The current study used this theoretical framework to investigate lay explanations of the COVID-19 outbreak. Risk psychology generally focuses on individual perceptions and cognitive errors or the notion of the fallibility of human information processing. According to Moscovici, society is not a source of information, but of meanings. People, on topics of interest, construct questions and look for answers, rather than merely perceiving and processing obtained information. Social psychologists, therefore, cannot be interested in risk responses as erroneous or correct, nor as false, deficient, or biased. Instead, they must be concerned with how social awareness of risk is built, in other words, how and why people need to co-construct social representations of such a risk. To identify the structure and content of COVID-19 SRs, we used a non-probabilistic sample composed by social sciences and humanities and life sciences students (N = 124). To access the structure of COVID-19 SRs, we employed the method of hierarchical evocation. The free association task was completed by participants' justification of their association choices to avoid the lexical ambiguity that could come from this kind of data. To access the content of COVID-19 SRs, we utilized both open and closed questions made up starting from the following dimensions: informative sources and participants' networks of interaction; anchoring and objectivation processes; expectations and emotions related to the object.
... Lockdown was implemented in March 2020 to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and released gradually throughout the world COVID-19 pandemic itself and lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world population in various ways including socially, economically, and psychologically beyond the medical risk. Various lines of research had focused previously on understanding how societies define the origin and impact of epidemics and how they deal with them, with emotional coping as a key to the process [5]. In the current unprecedented situation, it is difficult to predict (and thus estimate) the psychological consequences of COVID-19. ...
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Lockdown was implemented throughout the world in March 2020 to control the spread of covid-19 infection. It affected the mental health of people in various ways. This web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in the general population of India with an aim to evaluate the mental health of the healthy individuals in the later stage of the lockdown period. Data on socio-demographic factors, anxiety, depression (HADS scale), perceived stress (PSS scale), insomnia (insomnia severity index), subjective psychological feeling of well-being (WHO-5 well-being Index), and attitude towards covid-19 (7-point Likert scale) was collected. Univariate regression analysis and Karl Pearson's correlation were used to analyze the correlation of mental health abnormalities with socio-demographic factors. 119 subjects of mean age of 36.03 ± 18.04 years took part in the study. Their average number of days of stay at home during the lockdown and the average number of days of the lifestyle changes was 49.07 ± 31.92 and 61.39 ± 20.03 days, respectively. Depression, anxiety, stress, and clinical insomnia due to covid-19 were reported in 13.45%, 10.92%, 14.29%, and 11.76% subjects, respectively. There was a significant correlation of depression, anxiety, stress, and WHO-5 well-being score with age, socio-economic status, and the average number of days of the change in lifestyle due to the COVID-19 pandemic (P < 0.05). Therefore, the study concluded that the abnormalities of mental health were less prevalent in the older age group and lower socioeconomic status in the later phase of lockdown.
... Considering previous research on emerging infectious diseases for the present analyses, we selected from the whole survey two negative emotions, fear and anger, that have been found in previous health crises (Idoiaga et al., 2017;Joffe, 2011), and two positive emotions, hope and joy, associated with resilience and personal growth in traumatic events (see Fredrickson, 2009;Vazquez & Hervas, 2010). The survey included other emotions (e.g., calm, anguish) and scales (e.g., fatalism, empathic concern, construal level) not related to the purpose of the present study. ...
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For constructionism, language is the link among different levels of analysis of emotional events, from individual to interpersonal and macrosocial. The interaction among these emotional levels allows us to construe an emotional episode and label it with an emotion word, coordinate with the emotions perceived in others, and represent events as a society. Across two studies, we found similarities and differences among inner emotions experienced (individual level), emotions perceived in others (descriptive feeling rules, interpersonal level) and emotions shared on the internet (socioemotional conventions, macrosocial level), with all these emotional targets focused on the COVID-19 outbreak. The results indicate a similarity between the emotional meaning of COVID-19 in society and the descriptive feeling rules, whereas the reported inner emotions were clearly distinct: Joy was irrelevant at the interpersonal and macrosocial levels but clearly important at the individual level. A mismatch also appeared for fear and hope. While fear was the most predominant emotion at the interpersonal and macrosocial levels during most of the phases, it was moderately predominant at the individual level. Hope followed the opposite pattern, being the most relevant emotion at the individual level but less relevant at the interpersonal and macrosocial levels. Each level might have different consequences: Mixed emotions at the individual level might promote resilience; fear perceived in other people might motivate protective behaviors; and sadness socially shared during Christmas might generate greater empathy. These results support the complexity of emotional concepts and the suitability of exploring them at different levels of analysis.
... Além dos riscos médicos associados à COVID-19, com as altas e rápidas taxas de mortalidade e contaminação, os aspectos psicológicos associados à situação pandêmica são altamente relevantes. Estudos anteriores já relataram associações entre variáveis psicológicas e situações epidêmicas [4][5] ; com ênfase em altas queixas de distress (ansiedade, estresse e depressão) [6][7] . Um dos primeiros estudos sobre as respostas psicológicas ao coronavírus foi conduzido na China, encontrando uma forte associação com aumento do medo e outras emoções negativas, bem como ansiedade e estresse 8 . ...
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The objective was to investigate distress indicators among LGBT+ youth during social isolation and its associated factors in Brazil. 816 young LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and those belonging to other sexual and gender minorities) Brazilians between the ages of 18 and 32 were accessed through an electronic form. Indicators of distress (depression, anxiety, stress) were measured, using scales such as the DASS21, LGBT Identity, Social Support, Family Dysfunctionality, Neuroticism, and Outness. Multiple linear regression presented a significant model in which negative LGBT identity, perceived social support, family dysfunctionality, neuroticism, perceived family acceptance, and gender played a role as predictors of distress. Resumo O objetivo foi investigar indicadores de distress (sofrimento psicológico) entre jovens LGBT+ durante o isolamento social e seus fatores associados no Brasil. 816 jovens LGBT+ (lésbicas, gays, bissexuais, transgêneros e pertencentes a outras minorias sexuais e de gênero) brasileiros, entre 18 e 32 anos, foram acessados por meio de formulário eletrônico. Indicadores de distress (depressão, ansiedade, estresse) foram medidos por meio de escalas como DASS21, Identidade LGBT, Suporte Social, Disfuncionalidade Familiar, Neuroticismo e 36 Outness. A regressão linear múltipla apresentou um modelo significativo no qual identidade LGBT negativa, suporte social percebido, disfuncionalidade familiar, neuroticismo, aceitação familiar percebida e gênero desempenharam um papel como preditores do distress. Palavras-chaves: COVID-19; Distress; Minorias sexuais e de gênero; Juventude; Saúde mental Resumen El objetivo era investigar los indicadores de distress (sufrimiento psicológico) entre los jóvenes LGBT + durante el aislamiento social y sus factores asociados en Brasil. Se accedió a 816 brasileños LGBT+ (lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgénero y pertenecientes a otras minorías sexuales y de género) brasileños, entre 18 y 32 años, a través de un formulario electrónico. Los indicadores de distress (depresión, ansiedad, estrés) se midieron mediante escalas como DASS21, Identidad LGBT, Apoyo Social, Disfuncionalidad Familiar, Neuroticismo y Outness. La regresión lineal múltiple presentó un modelo significativo en el que la identidad LGBT negativa, el apoyo social percibido, la disfunción familiar, el neuroticismo, la aceptación familiar percibida y el género jugaron un papel como predictores de distress.
... Thematic analyses of these freeassociation-based interview responses have elucidated conceptualisations of diverse phenomena, ranging from citydweller representations of strangers (Zeeb & Joffe, 2021) to loneliness (Fardghassemi & Joffe, 2021), and lay notions of neuroscience (O'Connor & Joffe, 2014). They have also revealed how people conceptualise risk-related phenomena, including climate change, natural disasters and emerging infectious diseases (Idoiaga Mondragon et al., 2017;Park & Mortell, 2020;van Soest et al., 2019). ...
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COVID-19 has required researchers to adapt methodologies for remote data collection. While virtual interviewing has traditionally received limited attention in the qualitative literature, recent adaptations to the pandemic have prompted increased discussion and adoption. Yet, current discussion has focussed on practical and ethical concerns and retained a tone of compromise, of coping in a crisis. This paper extends the nascent conversations begun prior to the pandemic to consider the wider methodological implications of video-call interviews. Beyond the short-term, practical challenges of the pandemic, these adaptations demonstrate scope for longer-term, beneficial digitalisation of both traditional and emergent interview methods. Updating traditional interview methods digitally has demonstrated how conversion to video interviewing proves beneficial in its own right. Virtual focus-group-based research during COVID-19, for example, accessed marginalised populations and elicited notable rapport and rich data, uniting people in synchronous conversation across many environments. Moreover, emergent interview methods such as the Grid Elaboration Method (a specialised free-associative method) demonstrated further digitalised enhancements, including effective online recruitment with flexible scheduling, virtual interactions with significant rapport, and valuable recording and transcription functions. This paper looks beyond the pandemic to future research contexts where such forms of virtual interviewing may confer unique advantages: supporting researcher and participant populations with mobility challenges; enhancing international research where researcher presence or travel may be problematic. When opportunities for traditional face-to-face methods return, the opportunity for virtual innovation should not be overlooked.
... Anchoring and objectification are the two basic processes through which social representations develop. Anchoring, which is a way to make sense of unfamiliar events through a connection to past familiar experiences and objects, is detectable in the public understanding of almost all the most recent infectious diseases (AIDS, Ebola, SARS, avian flu, and mad cow disease: Idoiaga et al. 2017;Joffe and Haarhoff 2002). When Covid-19 started to spread, the media and even some scientists compared the new virus to "common flu" (Paez and Perez 2020), just as had happened with mad cow disease when it first appeared (Washer 2006). ...
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Inspired by the social representation theory, the article embraces many aspects of the way in which the space dimension in social distancing has become a central measure for both one’s own and others’ health protection during the Covid-19 pandemic, evoking symbolic dimensions related to the social representations of “others” that are emotionally driven by fear or mirror the vulnerable self, activating the othering–otherness process. This invisible (sometimes stigmatized) “other”—never previously known—has in a few months infected more than 11 million people on the global scale and caused more than 500 thousands deaths (as of 30 June 2020: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/). It has dictated where we can go, whether and how we can work, and whom we can meet, induced the virtualization of social relationships (“neighbours from afar” and “together but divided”), and confined working and socio-recreational activities to the home. The socio-spatial prescriptive distancing assumes various meanings in cultural contexts depending on whether lifestyles are more collectivist or individualistic and whether social practices are marked by crowded social proximity or distance. The social representations of cities as complex systems of “places” conceived for social “coexistence” have moved to prescriptive rules of inter-individual spaces (1 m, 2 m, and even more) for “survival”, with significant effects on place identity.
... One hundred and thirty staff and students from the Southern Cross University (New South Wales region, Australia) participated in the study. This sample was sufficient with regard to the literature for carrying out the analyses presented below [25] and also in comparison with similar studies of other EIDs [26][27][28]. This Australian university community was chosen because it is located in a region of Australia that has not been considered by previous MBD studies [14,15]. ...
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(1) Background: Studying social representations as lay theories allows for a better understanding of the common sense knowledge constructed around mosquito-borne diseases and the impact this may have on attitudes and behaviors. (2) Methods: A hierarchical evocation questionnaire was circulated through an Australian academic community and analyzed by prototypical analysis and correspondence factor analysis. (3) Results: Representational areas are regulated by participant age and whether or not they had contracted a mosquito-borne disease. (4) Conclusions: Collecting and understanding social representations has the potential to help social actors implement strategies that encourage people to access information and adopt behaviors in line with the scientific reality of the phenomenon, rather than limiting lay theories.
... These defense mechanisms can thus be studied and understood using perceptions [19]. They would also be a key to understanding how to properly manage future epidemics [20]. ...
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Objective: The objective of this research was to describe and analyze the role of psychological and behavioral factors on perceptions of COVID-19 in France and Quebec at three different times during the pandemic. Design: We conducted three qualitative and quantitative studies (Study 1 N = 255, Study 2 N = 230, Study 3 N = 143). Participants were asked to evaluate psychological and behavioral measures: at the beginning of lockdown (Study 1), during lockdown (Study 2), and during lockdown exit (Study 3). Results: Results of Study 1 show that perceptions of COVID-19 are organized around fear and a sense of threat. During the lockdown, participants mentioned for the first time the health practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Study 2). Psychological and social impacts constitute a central theme in participants' discourse (Study 2 and 3). Conclusions: The results show that perceptions of risk during a pandemic are socially constructed. Perceptions seem to be influenced by the political and health management of a territory and by the evolution of behavioral and psychological responses.
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This special issue of PSR focuses on the social representations of SARS or Covid- 19. The first study by Pizarro and colleagues analyzes the prevalence of social representations about the Covid-19 pandemic in 17 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, their association with perceived risk and their anchoring in sociopolitical beliefs, such as RWA and SDO. The second and third articles comment on the social communication processes around Covid-19 in Brazil and France (Apostolidis, Santos, & Kalampalikis, this issue; Justo, Bousfield, Giacomozzi, & Camargo, this issue), the fourth in Italy and a last one in South Africa (de Rosa & Mannarini, this issue; Sitto & Lubinga, this issue). Three studies (fifth, sixth and seventh) examines the structure of social representations related to Covid-19 using questionnaires, the free-association technique and inductive terms like Coronavirus (Colì, Norcia & Bruzzone, this issue; Fasanelli, Piscitelli & Galli, this issue) and the new normality (Emiliani et al., this issue), analyzed by different techniques like automatic lexical analysis (IRaMuTeQ). Finally, Denise Jodelet makes a final comment and closes this issue with areflection on Covid-19 “a separate epidemic”. In this introduction, rather than summarizing the articles, we will develop the themes and the questions they raise.
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The Ebola virus is unparalleled in its charismatic ability to ignite fear, anxiety and disgust at a scale grossly disproportionate to the number of lives it claims. As an archetypal ‘Emerging Infectious Disease’ (EID), this designation and the politics that have encircled it have provided Ebola with a conceptual space in which epidemiology and geography to splice together in the genesis and maintenance of its charismatic valence. Even before the West African outbreak of 2013-2016, Ebola was an ‘exceptional’ and ‘master status’ disease around which media attention mobilised to an unparalleled degree and effect. This paper argues that even if never directly conceptualised as such, Ebola is uniquely charismatic among EIDs and, more, this charisma can be understood geographically. To do so, the paper proceeds in three parts to explore how Ebola’s geographic charisma emerges from: (i) it being fixed ‘in place’ as something innately African; (ii) fears about the virus moving ‘out of place’ and (iii) its ‘potential energy’ or the persistent unease generated by the uncertainty of when and where the virus’s potential geographies will become actual.
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The goal of the present study was to measure COVID-19 social representation and to characterize attitudes and knowledge about the virus SARS-CoV-2. With an exploratory nature, it used a non-probabilistic sample of 297 Portuguese adults. To measure COVID-19 social representation, we used a free evocation task; attitudes were assessed by 20-item questionnaires divided into cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions; knowledge was assessed by a true or false test based upon general information made available by DGS [Portuguese health general directorate]. Results suggest participants have little belief that they could be infected, have the disease or even be preoccupied about it. Concerning social representation, results suggest the existence of two different groups of participants, one with a more favourable attitude towards COVID-19 and another with a less favourable attitude. The study raises questions to be developed in future research.
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Esta es una versión ampliada del artículo del mismo título que será publicada en la Revista de Psicología Social, ahora International Journal of Social Psychology, que incluye párrafos que no han sido sometidos a la revisión de pares, así como le bibliografía es mucho mas extensa. This is an expanded version of the paper that will Social representations (SRRs) are conceived as forms of collective symbolic coping. Their theoretical framework describes the processes of meaning creation by which social groups interpret novel events that question their world views, such as when new diseases and catastrophes such as the corona virus emerge (Vala & Castro, 2017). These creative processes take place through the communication that emerges around the event, for example, conversations between individuals, through social media and/or mass media communication. In these processes, representations of the event are constructed and disseminated, which creatively assimilate scientific discourses in a common sense (Pérez, 2004). A first idea is that the greater consumption of information, the type of information (social media versus traditional mass media), as well as the degree of interpersonal communication, will be associated with the content and polarization of beliefs and attitudes. The framework of SSRs suggests clues as to how individuals and groups will develop attitudes, beliefs, images and orientations of shared behaviours about this disease, through processes first of anchorage, then of objectification and characterised by cognitive polyphase. ´ In the case of epidemics, the link established between a new disease and previous ones is usually made through an anchorage mechanism, which integrates the understanding of the new one by framing it in the culture. The process of anchoring makes the unknown more familiar and eventually less threatening (Moscovici, 2000). In the early stages of Covid, its resemblance to the annual flu cycle was raised, de-dramatizing it.
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This special issue of PSR focuses on the social representations of SARS or Covid- 19. The first study by Pizarro and colleagues analyzes the prevalence of social representations about the Covid-19 pandemic in 17 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, their association with perceived risk and their anchoring in sociopolitical beliefs, such as RWA and SDO. The second and third articles comment on the social communication processes around Covid-19 in Brazil and France (Apostolidis, Santos, & Kalampalikis, this issue; Justo, Bousfield, Giacomozzi, & Camargo, this issue), the fourth in Italy and a last one in South Africa (de Rosa & Mannarini, this issue; Sitto & Lubinga, this issue). Three studies (fifth, sixth and seventh) examines the structure of social representations related to Covid-19 using questionnaires, the free-association technique and inductive terms like Coronavirus (Colì, Norcia & Bruzzone, this issue; Fasanelli, Piscitelli & Galli, this issue) and the new normality (Emiliani et al., this issue), analyzed by different techniques like automatic lexical analysis (IRaMuTeQ). Finally, Denise Jodelet makes a final comment and closes this issue with a reflection on Covid-19 “a separate epidemic”. In this introduction, rather than summarizing the articles, we will develop the themes and the questions they raise. Keywords: social representations, covid-19; anchorage, propaganda, conspiracy, cognitive polyphasia
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This paper develops a scale that measures the perceived service quality of hospitals during a pandemic. To develop the scale, data from 206 respondents from India, was subjected to exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The newly developed scale was named PAND-SERVQUAL, which includes factors namely, assistance, facility & layout, trust, empathy, promptness, and knowledge. The resulting scale is likely to be useful for researchers exploring service quality research and health care quality as well. Findings will facilitate understanding patient’s expectations regarding the service quality of hospitals during a pandemic. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/00185868.2021.1939827 .
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En Febrero 2020, el virus SARS-CoV-2 procedente de China ha llegado a Ecuador, el 16 de marzo se declara el estado de excepción, llevando al confinamiento a toda la población. La presente investigación se contextualiza en estudiantes, docentes de Posgrado. El objetivo es analizar, a partir del Covid 19, los niveles de depresión, ansiedad y estrés en estudiantes y docentes de Posgrado, así como la capacidad de afrontamiento realizando un análisis en función de las variables sociodemográficas. La metodología consiste en recolectar una muestra de 139 estudiantes y docentes de la maestría en prevención de Riesgos Laborales, aplicar la encuesta DASS 21 para medir las escalas de ansiedad, estrés y depresión. El diseño experimental es de tipo transversal, correlacional e inductivo. Los resultados demuestran que el Síndrome de Trastorno Mental en sus tres escalas es leve a moderado existen casos severos con afrontamientos bajos de las personas ante la presencia del Covid 19. Referente a las variables sociodemográficas el afrontamiento es bajo ante la presencia de la crisis. Se pronostica que la sintomatología determinada aumentará según vaya transcurriendo el confinamiento y aumento de casos- muertes por Covid 19. Se defienden intervenciones mediante programas prevención psicológica. Se determina que a menor capacidad de afrontamiento mayor nivel de estrés, ansiedad y depresión estudiantes y docentes con niveles de poco a medio.
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This study analyzes the range and content of Social Representations (SRs) about the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 geographical zones from 17 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia (N = 4430). Based on Social Representations Theory, as well as the psychosocial consequences of pandemics and crises, we evaluate the perceptions of severity and risks, the agreement with different SRs, and participants’ Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) and Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). Different sets of beliefs are discussed as SRs, together with their prevalence and association with contextual variables. Results show that severity and risk perceptions were associated with different SRs of the pandemic. Specifically, those focused on Emerging Externalizing zoonotic and ecological factors (the virus is due to Chinese unhygienic habits and the overexploitation of the planet), Polemic Conspiracies (the virus is a weapon), views of Elite and Mass Villains (the elites deceive us and profit with the pandemic), and Personal Responsibility (the neglectful deserves contagion) during the pandemic. Furthermore, most of the SRs are anchored in SDO and, more strongly, in RWA orientations. Additional meta-analyses and multi-level regressions show that the effects are replicated in most geographical areas and that risk perception was a consistent explanatory variable, even after controlling for demographics and ‘real risk’ (i.e., actual numbers of contagion and death). Results suggest that, while coping with and making sense of the pandemic, authoritarian subjects agree with SR that feed a sense of social control and legitimize outgroup derogation, and support punishment of ingroup low-status deviants.
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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), was first detected in Wuhan province in China during late December 2019 and was designated as being highly infectious. The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled it a “pandemic” on March 11, 2020. Throughout human history, experience has shown that prejudices and viruses spread simultaneously during a viral pandemic. Outgroup members have been associated with various diseases and non-human vectors of diseases. Some epidemics have been named according to various outgroups, just as the novel coronavirus has been referred to by some as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus.” Associating a virus with a sociodemographic group builds a false illusionary correlation, which can lead to stigmatization and discrimination. Pandemics can also stimulate violent xenophobic reactions. Besides the obvious harmful consequences for the individuals targeted, pandemic-related discrimination also affects the spread of the virus through its effect on public attitudes toward prevention and restriction, health service procurement, and in the establishment of health-related policies. It is important to first understand the relevant concepts and processes, and also to understand the underlying causes of discrimination in order to fight it. Social psychology offers multidimensional and comprehensive explanations of prejudice and discrimination. This review’s primary aim was to examine the motivations behind COVID-19-related discrimination based on social psychological perspectives. In line with this aim, the review first defines discrimination in detail, plus the related concepts and main social psychological theories on prejudice and discrimination. Then, pandemic-related discrimination in light of past experiences is discussed and explanations put forward for the theoretical perspectives and inferences specific to COVID-19. Finally, recommendations are made in order to prevent and combat discrimination related to infectious diseases.
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This study analyzes the range and content of Social Representations (SRs) about the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 geographical zones from 17 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia (N = 4430). Based on Social Representations Theory, as well as the psychosocial consequences of pandemics and crises, we evaluate the perceptions of severity and risks, the agreement with different SRs, and participants’ Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) and Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). Different sets of beliefs are discussed as SRs, together with their prevalence and association with contextual variables. Results show that severity and risk perceptions were associated with different SRs of the pandemic. Specifically, those focused on Emerging Externalizing zoonotic and ecological factors (the virus is due to Chinese unhygienic habits and the overexploitation of the planet), Polemic Conspiracies (the virus is a weapon), views of Elite and Mass Villains (the elites deceive us and profit with the pandemic), and Personal Responsibility (the neglectful deserves contagion) during the pandemic. Furthermore, most of the SRs are anchored in SDO and, more strongly, in RWA orientations. Additional meta-analyses and multi-level regressions show that the effects are replicated in most geographical areas and that risk perception was a consistent explanatory variable, even after controlling for demographics and ‘real risk’ (i.e., actual numbers of contagion and death). Results suggest that, while coping with and making sense of the pandemic, authoritarian subjects agree with SR that feed a sense of social control and legitimize outgroup derogation, and support punishment of ingroup lowstatus deviants.
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Students in higher education institutions such as universities are at a unique risk for COVID-19 because learning takes place in a manner that warrants frequent social interaction. This systematic review of 18 studies examined the awareness, risk perception, and health behaviors among students in higher education institutions across 15 high- and low-resource countries. We found that accurate knowledge of the disease varied across different countries. We also found that students were more likely to use informal networks and social media to obtain quick and easy-to-understand information about the infection. However, a “casual” or low risk attitude was prevalent from the start of each pandemic of outbreak. This casual attitude circumscribed the adoption of prevention behaviors. We conclude our paper by using the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Model to recommend how to maximize the impact of the design and delivery of public health interventions in the student population.
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La résistance aux antibiotiques est reconnue comme l'une des plus grandes menaces sanitaires du XXIe siècle par l'Organisation Mondiale de la Santé. En France, au début des années 2000, des actions de santé publique ont été menées pour enrayer le phénomène, aboutissant à la création du premier plan intersectoriel de lutte contre l'antibiorésistance et à la première campagne nationale de communication. Cependant, le grand public ne semble pas réaliser l'ampleur de la menace. Dans cette thèse, nous mobilisons la théorie des représentations sociales pour atteindre deux objectifs spécifiques : (1) comprendre par quels mécanismes psychosociaux s'opère la construction d’un risque sanitaire, et (2) communiquer sur le risque et orienter le changement des pratiques de santé. Les résultats observés démontrent la pertinence d'une approche basée sur la théorie des représentations sociales dans le domaine de la santé. Tout d’abord, cette théorie constitue un outil « diagnostic » qui permet de mettre en évidence la manière dont un risque sanitaire est assimilé par le grand public. D'autre part, elle peut être considérée comme un outil « incitatif » dans la mesure où elle permet de cibler des pistes d’intervention en fonction des caractéristiques des groupes sociaux et des situations dans lesquelles ils s’inscrivent. Nous concluons cette thèse en évoquant d'autres possibilités de recherche et d'application dans le domaine de la santé.
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This article argues that the theory of social representations can give valuable contributions to media research. It offers a new theory-based approach for studying how the media and citizens socially represent societal and political issues colouring our age, or some specific time period. Two fundamental communicative mechanisms – anchoring and objectification – are posited by the theory. These mechanisms, with a set of subcategories, are presented and it is shown how they can be used as conceptual analytical tools in empirical analysis. Concrete examples are given from a study on climate change and the media.
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The ongoing outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa is the largest on record; it has undermined already fragile healthcare systems and presented new challenges to contain the spread of the disease. Based on our observations in the field and insights from referenced sources, we aimed to identify key experiences of community engagement and social mobilization efforts in the current Ebola response. We concluded that there is no excuse not to actively involve local people and that the United Nations (UN) agencies and other partners did learn from their earlier mistakes to make a genuine attempt to better engage with communities. However, bottom-up approaches have not been widely implemented during the response and the reasons for not doing so must be further assessed. Health promotion can make an important contribution, because it shows how to enable people to take more control over their lives and health. This commentary can provide a guide to agencies to understand an appropriate way forward when the next Ebola outbreak inevitably occurs.
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This article traces the history of free association in psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, and social psychology and builds on these traditions to develop a novel research method for eliciting how people think and feel about social and personal issues. These range from climate change to pandemics, from earthquakes to urban living. The method, termed the grid elaboration method (GEM), is distinctive in tapping the naturalistic thoughts and feelings that people hold in relation to such issues. It provides an instrument that elicits ecologically valid material that minimizes the interference of the investigator's perspective. A further aspect of the method is that it taps chains of association that are often emotive and implicit in nature, in keeping with current trends in psychological research. These facets are elaborated in this article, with reference to an exploration of the history of free association methodologies in psychology. The efficacy of the method is demonstrated using examples drawn from recent empirical work utilizing the GEM in a variety of domains. The method is evaluated, with areas for future exploration elucidated.
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The present study utilises social representations theory to explore common sense conceptualisations of global warming risk using an in-depth, qualitative methodology. Fifty-six members of a British, London-based 2008 public were initially asked to draw or write four spontaneous "first thoughts or feelings" about global warming. These were then explored via an open-ended, exploratory interview. The analysis revealed that first thoughts, either drawn or written, often mirrored the images used by the British press to depict global warming visually. Thus in terms of media framings, it was their visual rather than their textual content that was spontaneously available for their audiences. Furthermore, an in-depth exploration of interview data revealed that global warming was structured around three themata: self/other, natural/unnatural and certainty/uncertainty, reflecting the complex and often contradictory nature of common sense thinking in relation to risk issues.
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This paper argues that our understanding of how the public understands science is incomplete as long as we do not answer the question of why, under which conditions, and in which form the general public assimilate scientific background knowledge. Everyday life and communication are governed by criteria of social efficiency and evidence. Under the conditions of everyday life, it is sufficient for the lay person to possess and employ metaphoric and iconic representations of scientific facts—called “vernacular science knowledge”—that are wrong in scientific terms, as long as they are able to serve as acceptable and legitimate belief systems in discourses with other lay people. These representations are tools for a purpose that follow local rules of communication. Research within the framework of Social Representation Theory—collective symbolic coping with biotechnology in Europe, lay understanding of sexual conception, as well as traditional versus modern psychiatric knowledge in India—is presented to illustrate.
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Lay perceptions of collectives (e.g., groups, organizations, countries) implicated in the 2009 H1N1 outbreak were studied. Collectives serve symbolic functions to help laypersons make sense of the uncertainty involved in a disease outbreak. We argue that lay representations are dramatized, featuring characters like heroes, villains and victims. In interviews conducted soon after the outbreak, 47 Swiss respondents discussed the risk posed by H1N1, its origins and effects, and protective measures. Countries were the most frequent collectives mentioned. Poor, underdeveloped countries were depicted as victims, albeit ambivalently, as they were viewed as partly responsible for their own plight. Experts (physicians, researchers) and political and health authorities were depicted as heroes. Two villains emerged: the media (viewed as fear mongering or as a puppet serving powerful interests) and private corporations (e.g., the pharmaceutical industry). Laypersons' framing of disease threat diverges substantially from official perspectives.
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Using social representations theory this paper casts light on the pattern of content that characterises the public response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (EID). The pattern is: distancing the disease from the self/ one's in-groups; blame of particular entities for the disease's origin and/or spread; and stigmatisation of those who have contracted it and/or who are represented as having intensified its spread. This pattern is not unique to EID but extends to many risks, making EID fruitful events for understanding public apprehension of potential dangers. This process may be driven by worry, fear and anxiety since when levels of these are low, as has arguably been the case with the 2009/10 "Swine Flu" pandemic, the pattern transforms. The distancing-blame-stigma pattern may also be transformed by growing reflexivity, a feature of late modern societies, as well as material features of the epidemic and "EID fatigue".
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A new method is presented, which enables extracting the pattern of social representations of an object from corpora in natural language "about" this object. Interrogation of a source of common knowledge (a representative sample of a population, a dictionary, a set of articles or books), yields a corpus of linguistic statements concerning the object. In the case of individuals, an open question on free association (What comes comes to your mind about...?). In the case of dictionaries, the set of all definitions of synonyms and analogues of the word in question is used. The corpus is then processed with a software that breaks up the corpus into statements (e. g. : sentences), and then makes a classification of those statements, on the basis of co-occurrence of lexical traits. Each class is considered as a basic nucleus of the representation, characterised by typical lexical traits. Multivariate analysis enables to represent the relationship of those nuclei and traits in a semantic space of connotations. Demonstration of the method is presented on two corpuses about "eating", (1) coming from a survey using the free association technique on a 2000 sample representative of the French population, (2) 544 definitions of synonyms and analogues of "to eat" from a large dictionary. Results are quite similar on both corpuses ; they yield a very clear model of the social representation of "eating", which is coherent with the findings by qualitative methods in the literature. The paper is based on a presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Social representations. Rio de janeiro, 1994. It can be downloaded on open access from the publisher's website.
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As a route to providing a framework for elucidating the content of public thinking concerning emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (EID), this article examines public engagement with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It explores how British lay publics represent MRSA utilising a social representations framework. For this group, MRSA is associated primarily with dirty National Health Service (NHS) hospitals that have been neglected due to management culture having superseded the matron culture that dominated the putative golden age of the NHS. Furthermore, MRSA represents a transgression of the purpose of a hospital as a clean and curative institution. While this widely shared picture is accompanied by a strong sense of general concern, the respondents associate contracting MRSA with other identities, such as hospitalised, young and old people. These associations are linked to feelings of personal invulnerability. There is also blame of foreigners--especially cleaners and nurses--for MRSA's spread. Thus, the data corroborate a key pattern of response found in relation to myriad EID--that of othering. However, the identities associated with contracting MRSA are mutable; therefore, the threat cannot be distanced unequivocally. Beyond developing an understanding of the relationship between epidemics and identities, this article proposes a fitting theory with which to explore EID-related public thinking.
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To assess the association between levels of worry about the possibility of catching swine flu and the volume of media reporting about it; the role of psychological factors in predicting likely uptake of the swine flu vaccine; and the role of media coverage and advertising in predicting other swine flu-related behaviours. Data from a series of random-digit-dial telephone surveys were analysed. A time series analysis tested the association between levels of worry and the volume of media reporting on the start day of each survey. Cross-sectional regression analyses assessed the relationships between likely vaccine uptake or behaviour and predictor variables. Thirty-six surveys were run at, on average, weekly intervals across the UK between 1 May 2009 and 10 January 2010. Five surveys (run between 14 August and 13 September) were used to assess likely vaccine uptake. Five surveys (1-17 May) provided data relating to other behaviours. Between 1047 and 1173 people aged 16 years or over took part in each survey: 5175 participants provided data about their likely uptake of the swine flu vaccine; 5419 participants provided data relating to other behaviours. All participants were asked to state how worried they were about the possibility of personally catching swine flu. Subsets were asked how likely they were to take up a swine flu vaccination if offered it and whether they had recently carried tissues with them, bought sanitising hand gel, avoided using public transport or had been to see a general practitioner, visited a hospital or called NHS Direct for a flu-related reason. The percentage of 'very' or 'fairly' worried participants fluctuated between 9.6% and 32.9%. This figure was associated with the volume of media reporting, even after adjusting for the changing severity of the outbreak [chi2(1) = 6.6, p = 0.010, coefficient for log-transformed data = 2.6]. However, this effect only occurred during the UK's first summer wave of swine flu. In total, 56.1% of respondents were very or fairly likely to accept the swine flu vaccine. The strongest predictors were being very worried about the possibility of oneself [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.2 to 7.0] or one's child (aOR 8.0, 95% CI 4.6 to 13.9) catching swine flu. Overall, 33.1% of participants reporting carrying tissues with them, 9.5% had bought sanitising gel, 2.0% had avoided public transport and 1.6% had sought medical advice. Exposure to media coverage or advertising about swine flu increased tissue carrying or buying of sanitising hand gel, and reduced avoidance of public transport or consultation with health services during early May 2009. Path analyses showed that media coverage and advertising had these differential effects because they raised the perceived efficacy of hygiene behaviours but decreased the perceived efficacy of avoidance behaviours. During the swine flu outbreak, uptake rates for protective behaviours and likely acceptance rates for vaccination were low. One reason for this may in part be explained by was the low level of public worry about the possibility of catching swine flu. When levels of worry are generally low, acting to increase the volume of mass media and advertising coverage is likely to increase the perceived efficacy of recommended behaviours, which, in turn, is likely to increase their uptake.
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This theoretical article presents a cultural-level analysis of stereotype content concerning derogated outgroups in the West. It proposes that the ethos of self-control is a key source of widespread thinking about outgroups, and thus a key factor in the social construction of certain groups as superior and others as inferior. Drawing on the social representations approach, the article complements and extends existing analyses of stereotype content that stem from social identity theory and the structural hypothesis. By emphasizing cultural values, particularly that of self-control of the body, it casts light on neglected sources of stereotype content such as its emotional, visceral and symbolic roots. Furthermore, by exploring other dimensions of the self-control ethos—linked to the mind and to destiny—the paper shows that derogated outgroups are often symbolized in terms of contravention of multiple aspects of self-control. Finally, the paper contributes to a cultural understanding of social exclusion by investigating the origin, production and diffusion of the symbolization of outgroups in terms of deficits in self-control.
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This study explores shared thinking about HIV/AIDS among Zambian adolescents. With high numbers affected, the question is how this group represents its risk. Social representations of the origin, spread and risk of HIV/AIDS were gleaned via 60 semistructured interviews with urban 15 to 20 year olds. A systematic analysis revealed a shared picture: AIDS was linked to the West, God and teenage girls; its spread lay beyond the control of adolescent boys and men; and the personal sense of vulnerability was low. The results are discussed in light of their corroboration of the finding that social representations of danger can be identity protective, yet also system justifying. The potential transfer of such findings to psychological theory and to health campaigns is considered.
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The paper explores the social representation of the 2001 Hong Kong avian bird flu epidemic from the perspective of local women. Fifty women were asked to describe their first thoughts about the flu, and these were subsequently explored. Thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews revealed that the first thoughts were characterized by: (a) the origin of the epidemic, (b) anchors for it, (c) emotions about it, and (d) images of it. Aspersion concerning the lack of hygiene of Mainland Chinese chicken rearers and chicken sellers in Hong Kong dominated the interviews. Other environmental factors were also stressed, as was regulation leniency and a drive to profit. Comparisons between old traditions and newer practices formed a central feature. The findings are discussed in terms of their continuity with western risk findings as well as their specific cultural nuances.
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In the present research, consisting of 2 correlational studies (N = 616) including a representative U.S. sample and 2 experiments (N = 350), the authors investigated how stereotypes and emotions shape behavioral tendencies toward groups, offering convergent support for the behaviors from intergroup affect and stereotypes (BIAS) map framework. Warmth stereotypes determine active behavioral tendencies, attenuating active harm (harassing) and eliciting active facilitation (helping). Competence stereotypes determine passive behavioral tendencies, attenuating passive harm (neglecting) and eliciting passive facilitation (associating). Admired groups (warm, competent) elicit both facilitation tendencies; hated groups (cold, incompetent) elicit both harm tendencies. Envied groups (competent, cold) elicit passive facilitation but active harm; pitied groups (warm, incompetent) elicit active facilitation but passive harm. Emotions predict behavioral tendencies more strongly than stereotypes do and usually mediate stereotype-to-behavioral-tendency links.
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In the 1970s it seemed infectious diseases had been conquered, but today global epidemics seem to pose a new, more sinister, threat. This fascinating study explores these new infectious diseases, such as Swine Flu, SARS and AIDS, and the re-emergence of old threats, and discusses their role in society.
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Book
Serge Moscovici first introduced the concept of social representations into contemporary social psychology nearly forty years ago. Since then the theory has become one of the predominant approaches in social psychology, not only in continental Europe, but increasingly in the Anglo-Saxon world as well. While Moscovici's work has spread broadly across the discipline, notably through his contributions to the study of minority influences and of the psychology of crowds, the study of social representations has continued to provide the central focus for one of the most distinctive and original voices in social psychology today. This volume brings together some of Moscovici's classic statements of the theory of social representations, as well as elaborations of the distinctive features of this perspective in social psychology. In addition the book includes some recent essays in which he re-examines the intellectual history of social representations, exploring the diverse ways in which this theory has responded to a tradition of thought in the social sciences which encompasses not only the contributions of Durkheim and Piaget, but also those of Lévy-Bruhl and Vygotsky. The final chapter of the book consists of a long interview with Ivana Marková, in which Moscovici not only reviews his own intellectual itinerary but also gives his views on some of the key questions facing social psychology today. The publication of this volume provides an essential source for the study of social representations and for an assessment of the work of a social psychologist who has consistently sought to re-establish the discipline as a vital element of the social sciences.
Chapter
Moscovici, S. (1984). The phenomenon of social representations. In R. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds.), Social representations (pp. 3-69). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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ALCESTE - A Methodology of Textual Data Analysis and an Application: Aurélia by Gérard de Nerval. Beginning with a cross-tabulation with different all sentence fragments in rows and a selected vocabulary in columns for a specific corpus, the author presents: the methodology, including principle concepts and objectives of this form of analysis; the technique, the ALCESTE computer program of automatic classification based on resemblance or dissimilarity: and an application, the analysis of Gérard de Nerval's text Aurélia. The analysis distinguishes three types of fragments which are described and analyzed further.
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To understand the French public's response to the 2009 pandemic A/H1N1 influenza health threat a sequence analysis framework has been employed mobilising different theoretical strands such as innovations diffusion theory, surprise theory and social representation theory. These tend to suggest that disease episodes, public health policy and the public's response should be considered within a larger socio-cognitive frame incorporating representations anchored by prior disease episodes and campaigns. It is suggested in this article that the public's response was greatly influenced by the pervasive anchoring of the social representations of the pandemic threat to the 1918 Spanish flu in the lay and scientific media. These representations were eventually seen not to match the reality of the disease and consequently the French public did not panic during the 2009 pandemic. This hypothesis has been tested empirically by examining retrospective media, bibliographical data and an analysis of risk perception carried out through three cross-sectional studies prior to and during the pandemic episode and one month after the launch of the vaccination campaign. These findings suggest that alarmist framings of health threats may be counterproductive since they may reduce the capacity of public health organisations to mobilise the public in the case of more serious emerging disease.
Article
Based on Moscovici’s (1961) classical study on the cultivation of psychoanalytic ideas in France in the 1950’s and our own research on modern biotechnology, we propose a paradigm for researching social representations. Following a consideration of the nature of representations and of the ‘iconoclastic suspicion’ that haunts them, we propose a model of the emergence of meaning relating three elements: subjects, objects, and projects. The basic unit of analysis is the elongated triangle of mediation (SOPS): subject 1, object, project, and subject 2, captured in the image of a ‘Toblerone’. Such social units cultivate, that is produce, circulate and receive representation which may be embodied in four modes–habitual behaviour, individual cognition, informal communication and formal communication–and in three mediums–words, visual images or non-linguistic sounds. We propose an operational definition of a ‘social representation’ as the comparison of four characteristics of communication systems: the content structures (anchorings and objectifications; core and peripheral elements), the typified processes (diffusion, propagation, propaganda etc.), and their functions (identity, attitude, opinion, resistance, ideology etc.), within the context of segmented social milieus. Seven implications for research on social representations are outlined: (1) content and process; (2) segmentation by social milieus rather than taxonomies; (3) cultivation studies within social milieus; (4) multi-method (mode and medium) analysis; (5) time structures and longitudinal data; (6) the crossover of cultural projects and trajectories; (7) the disinterested research attitude. This ideal type paradigm leads to an operational clarification to identify new research questions, and to guide the design and evaluation of studies on social representations.
Article
This study's interest relies on adolescents' social representations of unprotected sex, more precisely on the relationship between the attitude towards the preservative and the reason attribution for its non use. 1386 secondary school students took part in the study, in the Brazilian cities of Florianópolis, Itajaí and Balneário Camboriú. In order to verify reasons attributed by the students, we focused on the sample that had sexual experiences without using the condom during last year. Data was analyzed with software ALCESTE, which showed three different classes of explanations for the non use of the preservative: the moment of the intercourse (unpredictable and incontrollable), trust in the partner and the option of the contraceptive pill, instead of the preservatives, in avoiding pregnancy. The students' attitudes towards the preservative are less favourable among those who maintain sexual intercourse with known people. The results revealed two representations of AIDS: one of trust in the partner and another of the experience with sex and the preservative--the first one gives sense to the adolescents' experiences with known sexual partners and the second, with less known sexual partners.
Article
This article examines how group representations can be used strategically to induce social change. The speeches delivered by Patrice Lumumba during the decolonization of the Belgian Congo were analysed using the content analysis software ALCESTE. Lumumba used radically different descriptions of Belgians and Congolese depending on the period during which the speech was delivered and on the audience he was addressing (Congolese or Belgian). When addressing Belgians, he described their countrymen as benevolent allies who could assist the development of Congo, and the Congolese as pacific and friendly. When addressing Congolese audiences, Belgians were described as oppressors, and Congolese as victims. In addition he emphasized the unity of the country more at the end of the decolonization process than at its onset. Considering that his nationalist and pan-African aims remained stable, we suggest that this variability stems from the different actions expected from his audiences, as a function of their group membership and the political context. We argue that this performative dimension cannot be captured if group representations, including stereotypes, are only viewed in cognitive terms. In addition, we show that they should be studied not only as justifications for the existing social order but also as instruments of social change.
Article
In the Spring of 2003, there was a huge interest in the global news media following the emergence of a new infectious disease: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This study examines how this novel disease threat was depicted in the UK newspapers, using social representations theory and in particular existing work on social representations of HIV/AIDS and Ebola to analyse the meanings of the epidemic. It investigates the way that SARS was presented as a dangerous threat to the UK public, whilst almost immediately the threat was said to be 'contained' using the mechanism of 'othering': SARS was said to be unlikely to personally affect the UK reader because the Chinese were so different to 'us'; so 'other'. In this sense, the SARS scare, despite the remarkable speed with which it was played out in the modern global news media, resonates with the meanings attributed to other epidemics of infectious diseases throughout history. Yet this study also highlights a number of differences in the social representations of SARS compared with earlier epidemics. In particular, this study examines the phenomena of 'emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases' over the past 30 or so years and suggests that these have impacted on the faith once widely held that Western biomedicine could 'conquer' infectious disease.
Article
This paper examines the reporting of the story of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and its human derivative variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (vCJD) in the British newspapers. Three 'snapshots' of newspaper coverage are sampled and analysed between the period 1986 and 1996 focusing on how representations of the disease evolved over the 10-year period. Social representations theory is used to elucidate how this new disease threat was conceptualised in the newspaper reporting and how it was explained to the UK public. This paper examines who or what was said to be at risk from the new disease, and whether some individuals or groups held to blame for the diseases' putative origins, the appearance of vCJD in human beings, and its spread.
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