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Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19) the world has experienced a health crisis. The pandemic has greatly impacted the perception of the world and everyday life. The COVID-19 has not only threatened human life but also how people live their lives these days. It has created a sense of urgency in how the world should contain the spread of the virus. Researchers strongly recommended social distancing as the major method of containing the spread of the virus.
Socializing is inherently human, which is to find company and solace from others. In the context of social distancing and public alarm, major human activities have been affected. The social distancing aspect in COVID-19 has shown interest to psychologists, computer scientists, economists, criminologists, health and medics, the education sector, etc. in fact, it is research that will be in our papers for many years to come.
From the emotional perspective, psychology students might have an interest in the impact of COVID-19 on human behavior. Some topic that would interest them include:
Emotional Responses and Self-Protective Behavior during the COVID-19 Outbreak and the Role of Information Credibility in the COVID-19 Outbreak
Since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the World Health Organization has spoken about the need to fight the pandemic as well as the infodemic. The nature of human beings is that they like to learn. With the internet age, people continue to search for information about COVID-19. There is the question of whether the information about coronavirus people are consuming is credible. Demographic research conducted by Beyazoglu, Babnik, & Lep (2020), scientists and medical professionals were deemed to be more credible. The research also identified that credibility of information was linked to lower levels of negative emotions, but rather as a higher adherence to the needed self-protective measures. However, the results vary from society to society.
Additionally, the research topic will be relevant in the COVID-19 subject due to the role of social media as a source of information. Today, people are faced with an abundance of information from various sources. However, the information may not be credible. WHO has identified the role of credible information in fighting the pandemic. This research would help students understand how different informational outlets can affect emotional responses, perception and whether credible information would promote behavioral responses to the novel crisis.
Social Distancing and Stigmatization Attitudes during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Corona Virus was one of a kind pandemic of the human history. The recommendations provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) required governments to contain their people to reduce the virus spread. Apart from physical damages caused by the pandemic, the pandemic also caused adverse psychological threats such as anxiety, distress, and depression. Moreover, Tomczyk, Rahn, & Schmidt (2020) identified that COVID-19 associated conditions are expected to be long lasting. The adverse consequences of the pandemic are expected to be stigmatization, depression, post-traumatic stress, and diminished quality of life.
The government through ministries of health recommended a series of preventive measures that mainly target human behavior. They include hand hygiene and avoidance behaviors such as voluntary or involuntary quarantine and social distance. Research as certified the role of combination of the strategies in containing the disease. According to WHO (2021), people can protect themselves from the COVID-19 by wearing a mask, physical distancing, cleaning hands, stay in a well-ventilated room, coughing into the elbow or tissue. The recommendations can be summarized into two; social distance and hygiene.
Psychology students might be interested in studying the impact of coronavirus on human behavior and mental health. Stigma is associated with many interpersonal behaviors. It may affect people to participate in public opportunities such as vote, utilize health care. Society has not been able to embrace the new reality to know how to deal with symptomatic and or infected persons. COVID-19 survivors continue to experience blame and social rejection while some state that they are victimized (Hansen & Lory2, 2020).
To investigate the role of stigmatization during the pandemic, the research should take the approach of exploring:
- The role interventions to reduce the pandemic and how humans adjust to them. The researcher should focus on behavioral recommendations to contain the COVID-19 in the population of the study.
- Investigate the role of stigma in non-compliance while considering other factors such as risk perception, sociodemographic differences, and the information available about the adaptive behaviors.
- Research on the similarities and differences in different cultures while focusing on the study population. The researcher will compare the data with other populations.