Abstract

During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. conservative politicians and the media downplayed the risk of both contracting COVID-19 and the effectiveness of recommended health behaviors. Health behavior theories suggest perceived vulnerability to a health threat and perceived effectiveness of recommended health-protective behaviors determine motivation to follow recommendations. Accordingly, we predicted that-as a result of politicization of the pandemic-politically conservative Americans would be less likely to enact recommended health-protective behaviors. In two longitudinal studies of U.S. residents, political conservatism was inversely associated with perceived health risk and adoption of health-protective behaviors over time. The effects of political orientation on health-protective behaviors were mediated by perceived risk of infection, perceived severity of infection, and perceived effectiveness of the health-protective behaviors. In a global cross-national analysis, effects were stronger in the U.S. (N = 10,923) than in an international sample (total N = 51,986), highlighting the increased and overt politicization of health behaviors in the U.S.

Rights

© 2021 Stroebe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Stroebe, W., van Dellen, M., Abakoumkin, G., Lemay, E., Schiavone, W., Agostini, M., Bélanger, J., Gützkow, B., Kreienkamp, J., Reitsema, A., Abdul Khaiyom, J., Ahmedi, V., Akkas, H., Almenara, C., Atta, M., Bagci, S., Basel, S., Berisha Kida, E., Bernardo, A., Buttrick, N., Chobthamkit, P., Choi, H., Cristea, M., Csaba, S., Damnjanović, K., Danyliuk, I., Dash, A., Di Santo, D., Douglas, K., Enea, V., Faller, D., Fitzsimons, G., Gheorghi, A., Gómez, Á., Hamaidia, A., Han, Q., Helmy, M., Hudiyana, J., Jeronimus, B., Jiang, D., Jovanović, V., Kamenov, Ž., Kende, A., Keng, S., Kieu, T., Koc, Y., Kovyazina, K., Kozytska, I., Krause, J., Kruglanski, A., Kurapov, A., Kutlaca, M., Lantos, N., Lemsmana, C., Louis, W., Lueders, A., Malik, N., Martinez, A., McCabe, K., Mehulić, J., Milla, M., Mohammed, I., Molinario, E., Moyano, M., Muhammad, H., Mula, S., Muluk, H., Myroniuk, S., Najafi, R., Nisa, C., Nyúl, B., O'Keefe, P., Olivas Osuna, J., Osin, E., Park, J., Pica, G., Pierro, A., Rees, J., Resta, E., Rullo, M., Ryan, M., Samekin, A., Santtila, P., Sasin, E., Schumpe, B., Selim, H., Stanton, M., Sultana, S., Sutton, R., Tseliou, E., Utsugi, A., van Breen, J., van Lissa, C., van Veen, K., Vázquez, A., Wollast, R., Wai-Lan Yeung, V., Zand, S., Žeželj, I., Zheng, B., Zick, A., Zúñiga, C. & Leander, N. 2021, 'Politicization of COVID-19 health-protective behaviors in the United States: Longitudinal and cross-national evidence', PLoS ONE, 16(10), article no: e0256740. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256740

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Last updated: 02 July 2022
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