Fear and Hope in a Pandemic

In an online survey, an SCU psychology professor found those who prepared most for the pandemic had the most fear, and the most hope.

Fear and Hope in a Pandemic
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Fear and Hope. That’s how David Feldman, chair of the Counseling Psychology Department, contextualized the differences between those who took steps to prepare at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic back in March—doing things like stocking up on essentials such as toilet paper, hand soap, and nonperishable groceries—and those who didn’t. In an online survey, Feldman found that while fearful people took precautions (like stocking up on toilet paper), so, too, did those with a lot of hope.

30,642,800

Reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of Sept. 18, 2020

954,927

Total deaths from COVID-19 worldwide as of Sept. 18, 2020

49%

Survey participants who said they’d be relatively uninterested in taking steps to protect themselves if the fatality rate stayed the same, measured in March at 3%.

14

Average score, on a scale of 4 to 28, of participants ranking to what degree they were worried about the coronavirus, indicating a moderate amount of anxiety

48

Average participant score out of a possible 64 on Adult Dispositional Hope Scale, indicating a moderate-to-high degree of general hopefulness.

63%

The variance in participants’ self- reported level of preparedness, due to worry and hope. As Feldman writes, “It makes sense that people who are more hopeful will be more likely to take steps to protect themselves. After all, hope sends the message: ‘There’s something you can do to help things turn out okay.’”

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