Is Covid-19 a natural event? Covid-19 pandemic and conspiracy beliefs

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Valerio Pellegrini, Mauro Giacomantonio, Valeria De Cristofaro, Marco Salvati, Maurizio Brasini, Elio Carlo, Francesco Mancini, Luigi Leone (2021): Is Covid-19 a natural event? Covid-19 pandemic and conspiracy beliefs. In: Personality and Individual Differences, 181 , pp. 111011, 2021, ISSN: 0191-8869.

Abstract

In this paper, antecedents and consequences of conspiracy beliefs are investigated in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. 618 individuals residing in different geographical area of Italy participated in the study. We found that perceived mortality rate of COVID-19 is positively associated with adherence to conspiracy beliefs and, in turn, with negative outcomes such as: (a) a reduced support for the measures taken to deal with the pandemic emergency, (b) a weaker feeling of guilt for the violation of anti-COVID-19 government rules, and (c) a stronger utilitarian stance which prioritizes economic over health-related outcomes of lockdown. Also, framing pandemic within the “natural order of things” – fundamental and implicit expectations concerning how life and the world should function – was expected to moderate the relationship between perceived mortality rate and conspiracy beliefs: we found this relationship to be weaker when people believe that pandemic falls into the “natural order of things”

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