Understanding pandemic behaviours in Singapore – Application of the Terror Management Health Model

Leung, Hoi Ting, Chew, Peter K.H., and Caltabiano, Nerina J. (2022) Understanding pandemic behaviours in Singapore – Application of the Terror Management Health Model. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, 26 (3). pp. 131-140.

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The novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, was first reported in China in December 2019 and became a global crisis by March 2020. Both adaptive and maladaptive behaviours were observed in response to aspects of the crisis, some of which appeared to be contradictory to coping and curbing the threat of COVID-19. For instance, the purchase and use of surgical masks and sanitisers could be understood as logical health-oriented behaviours relevant to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The breaching of social distancing measures and forwarding unverified news, however, might have done more harm than good. In applying the proximal and distal defences proposed within the Terror Management Health Model (TMHM), this article suggests explanations for these behaviours as individuals’ attempts to alleviate anxiety arising from reminders of their mortality. Information from local newspapers and media is used to highlight and identify common behaviours observed in the pandemic, and the TMHM is applied to explain these behaviours. This paper briefly concludes with a call for empirical validation of the TMHM for the behaviours observed in relation to COVID-19, and for the use of TMHM conceptualisations to develop countermeasures to reduce maladaptive behaviours in the current, and future, pandemics in Singapore.

Item ID: 77097
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1174-4707
Keywords: TMHM, COVID-19, health behaviours, Singapore, empirical validation
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Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2022 00:37
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 80%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 20%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200406 Health protection and disaster response @ 80%
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