COVID-19 Related Stresses, Conspiracy Beliefs, Uncertainty, and Nonadherence to Safety Guidelines


conspiracy beliefs
emotional exhaustion

How to Cite

Barahmand, U., Mohamadpour, S., & Sheikh Ahmad, R. H. (2022). COVID-19 Related Stresses, Conspiracy Beliefs, Uncertainty, and Nonadherence to Safety Guidelines. International Journal of Psychological Research, 15(2).


Introduction: Inconsistent use of protective preventive measures and nonadherence of the guidelines set by the World Health Organization regarding the coronavirus are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, as well as increased health care costs. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of COVID-19 related worries, conspiracy beliefs, and uncertainty in adherence to preventative measures in Iran. Method: In a large survey with data collected online from a volunteer sample of 599 individuals, assessments were made of the distress associated with the anticipated potential consequences associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, extent of agreement with conspiracy beliefs, level of situation-specific uncertainty, and self-reports of compliance with preventive measures. Data were analyzed to explore paths leading to nonadherence to safety guidelines proposed by the medical authorities. Results: A large majority of individuals report significant distress and worry associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Results indicate that increasing levels of situation-specific uncertainty intolerance, as well as conspiracy beliefs regarding the coronavirus, are associated with non-compliance with the advised protocols. Specifically, the results show that worries related to the COVID-19 pandemic are linked to non-compliance with preventive measures through conspiracy beliefs and feelings of uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 situation even after gender, education, and perceived socioeconomic status were controlled. Conclusions: Findings imply that emotional exhaustion is likely to have set in and become counterproductive as people choose to violate safety guidelines. The authors discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results.


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