Terror management and pandemic influenza : social perception and response / by Jeffrey W. Sole.
Sole, Jeffrey W.
SubjectInfluenza - Psychological aspects
Terror management theory
Epidemics - Psychological aspects
MetadataShow full item record
Terror management theory provides a framework for investigating social responses likely to occur in the event of an influenza pandemic. The study predicted that where the threat of death from a pandemic was made salient in a relevant context involving a social outgroup, people would be more likely to behave aggressively toward those they perceived as threatening to their physical and symbolic existence. Concurrently, it was predicted that moderating personality traits--specifically Personal Need for Structure (PNS), self-esteem, and support for vaccination--would exaggerate or mitigate the likelihood of such aggression. The study involved 180 students randomly assigned to one of 3 mortality salience prime conditions and one of two worldview defence scenarios, who completed measures of self-esteem, Personal Need for Structure, and worldview defence. Results indicated that high PNS individuals were affected by both mortality salience primes equally and significantly greater than the control. This suggests a basic mortality salience effect in high PNS individuals, with the threat of a pandemic at least as provocative as standard mortality salience.