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Disgust, conservatism and influenza prevention: An embodied cognition approach to health attitudes and intentions

Duran, Luis (2016) Disgust, conservatism and influenza prevention: An embodied cognition approach to health attitudes and intentions. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Background: Recent studies demonstrated that a disgust reaction, which evolved as an instinctive response to protect one’s body from potential contaminants, affects judgments about morality and sexuality through embodied linkages between the concepts of cleanliness, physical purity, and moral purity. Therefore, disgust sensitivity and sexual and social conservatism – favoring traditional social norms in the face of external forces for change – might affect attitudes towards protective health behaviors and political support for health protection efforts. However, no studies have looked at these linkages in a public health context like infectious disease prevention.

Statement of public health relevance: Intentionally triggering a disgust reaction might prove an effective communication strategy for health behavior change interventions. Future research might focus on testing the fit between different disgust triggers and specific public health issues.

Methods: Forty-three literate, English-speaking adults were randomized (1:1) to cleanliness prime – exposure to hand sanitizer – or control and shown publicly available influenza statistics illustrated with graphs and figures. The hypotheses were: (1) disgust sensitivity and sexual and social conservatism are positively associated with disgust, perceptions of influenza risk/severity/costs and likelihood of taking preventive measures against influenza, but negatively associated with trust of influenza-related information and likelihood of supporting taxes for influenza prevention; (2) disgust is similarly associated with the other four variables; and (3) hand sanitizer exposure is similarly associated with disgust and the other four variables.

Results: Statistically significant results at α = 0.05 were observed for the first two of the three study hypotheses with the pilot sample size (N = 43). Post hoc analyses showed significant results for: (1) correlations between indexes for disgust sensitivity with disgust, perceptions of influenza risk/severity/costs and likelihood of taking preventive action against influenza; and (2) correlations between indexes for sexual and social conservatism with disgust and likelihood of supporting taxes for influenza prevention.

Conclusions: Disgust sensitivity and sexual and social conservatism were both correlated with disgust, while disgust sensitivity was correlated with perceptions of influenza risk/severity/costs and likelihood of taking preventive action against influenza, and sexual and social conservatism was correlated with likelihood of supporting influenza prevention taxes. However, exposure to hand sanitizer did not produce the hypothesized responses.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Duran, Luislgd2@pitt.eduLGD2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKeane, Christophercrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberTrauth, Jeanettetrauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Committee MemberTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberInagaki, Tristeninagaki@pitt.eduINAGAKI
Date: 29 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 February 2016
Approval Date: 29 June 2016
Submission Date: 9 March 2016
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 200
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: embodied cognition, influenza prevention, health communication, disgust sensitivity, moral contagion
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2016 17:19
Last Modified: 01 May 2018 05:15
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/27193

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