Reductions in perceived COVID-19 threat amid UK’s mass public vaccination programme coincide with reductions in outgroup avoidance (but not prejudice)

Meleady, Rose and Hodson, Gordon (2022) Reductions in perceived COVID-19 threat amid UK’s mass public vaccination programme coincide with reductions in outgroup avoidance (but not prejudice). British Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0144-6665

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Abstract

It has long been proposed that perceptions of threat contribute to greater outgroup negativity. Much of the existing evidence on the threat–prejudice association in the real world, however, is cross-sectional in nature. Such designs do not adequately capture individual-level changes in constructs, and how changes in constructs relate to changes in other theoretically relevant constructs. The current research exploited the unique opportunity afforded by the mass COVID-19 vaccination programme in the United Kingdom to explore whether reductions in pathogen threat coincide with reductions in outgroup prejudice and avoidance. A two-wave longitudinal study (N 1 = 912, N 2 = 738) measured British adult's perceptions of COVID-19 threat and anti-immigrant bias before and during mass vaccine rollout in the United Kingdom. Tests of latent change models demonstrated that perceived COVID-19 threat significantly declined as the vaccine programme progressed, as did measures of outgroup avoidance tendencies, but not prejudiced attitudes. Critically, change in threat was systematically correlated with change in outgroup avoidance: those with greater reductions in perceived COVID-19 threat were, on average, those with greater reductions in outgroup avoidance. Findings provide important and novel insights into the implications of disease protection strategies for intergroup relations during an actual pandemic context, as it unfolds over time.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding: This research was funded as part of a Research Fellowship to the author from the Leverhulme Trust (RF-2019-263).
Uncontrolled Keywords: prejudice,covid-19,threat,pathogen avoidance,behavioural immune system,vaccination,pathogen avoidance,behavioural immune system,prejudice,threat,vaccination,social psychology,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3207
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2022 17:30
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 00:45
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/84141
DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12537

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