Semantic regulation of anxiety expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic: conspiracy trends

N. V. Zakharova, T. I. Bonkalo, L. V. Bravve, A. M. Kalakov, T. S. Syunyakov, D. F. Kovalchuk
2020 Health Care of the Russian Federation  
Introduction. The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with the spread of conspiracy theories, which are heterogeneous in terms of the structure of their views. The hypothesis is that the substrate for the spread of conspiracy trend is an increased level of anxiety, reduced due to the paralogical (conspiracy) interpretation of events. The purpose of this research was to study the prevalence of conspiracy trends during the preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic in Moscow (before the introduction of
more » ... ict restrictive measures). Methods: 320 people, randomly selected from the general population, were asked if they agree or disagree with 9 statements regarding the conspiracy interpretation of events, compared with the level of anxiety/depression (using the HADS scale). There are 3 trends (COVID-conspiracy, COVID-skepticism, COVID-obscurantism). Results: 45.7% of respondents were ready to agree with one or the other conspiracy idea. I The level of anxiety in all adherents of conspiracy theory was found to be higher than in the rest of the sample. Differences in sociodemographic characteristics of adherents of different conspiracy tendencies are revealed. Among COVID skeptics, there are significantly fewer students and pensioners, and among COVID conspiracy theorists, the level of education received is lower, with unstable labor and family status. Discussion. Conspiracy trends were universal for all social groups in the background of increased anxiety among the population of Moscow in preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic. It is suggested that the mechanism for the development of conspiracy tendencies may be the process of rationalization of an increased level of anxiety as a protective response during a crisis.
doi:10.46563/0044-197x-2020-64-6-329-335 fatcat:jjj7uee6uvf3bc3wcktvnbugyy