Is Covid-19 a natural event? Covid-19 pandemic and conspiracy beliefs

Pers Individ Dif. 2021 Oct;181:111011. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2021.111011. Epub 2021 May 24.


In this paper, antecedents and consequences of conspiracy beliefs are investigated in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. 618 individuals residing in different geographical area of Italy participated in the study. We found that perceived mortality rate of COVID-19 is positively associated with adherence to conspiracy beliefs and, in turn, with negative outcomes such as: (a) a reduced support for the measures taken to deal with the pandemic emergency, (b) a weaker feeling of guilt for the violation of anti-COVID-19 government rules, and (c) a stronger utilitarian stance which prioritizes economic over health-related outcomes of lockdown. Also, framing pandemic within the "natural order of things" - fundamental and implicit expectations concerning how life and the world should function - was expected to moderate the relationship between perceived mortality rate and conspiracy beliefs: we found this relationship to be weaker when people believe that pandemic falls into the "natural order of things".

Keywords: COVID-19; Conspiracy beliefs; Mortality rate; Natural order.