The Psychology of Pandemics Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This article reviews the current state of knowledge and promising new directions concerning the psychology of pandemics. Pandemics are disease outbreaks that spread globally. Historically, psychological factors have been neglected by researchers and health authorities despite evidence that pandemics are, to a large extent, psychological phenomena whereby beliefs and behaviors influence the spreading versus containment of infection. Psychological factors are important in determining ( a) adherence to pandemic mitigation methods (e.g., adherence to social distancing), ( b) pandemic-related social disruption (e.g., panic buying, racism, antilockdown protests), and ( c) pandemic-related distress and related problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, prolonged grief disorder). The psychology of pandemics has emerged as an important field of research and practice during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As a scholarly discipline, the psychology of pandemics is fragmented and diverse, encompassing various psychological subspecialties and allied disciplines, but is vital for shaping clinical practice and public health guidelines for COVID-19 and future pandemics.

publication date

  • May 9, 2022