Sociopolitical consequences of COVID-19 in the Americas, Europe, and Asia: A multilevel, multicountry investigation of risk perceptions and support for antidemocratic practices

José J. Pizarro, Huseyin Cakal, Lander Méndez, Larraitz N. Zumeta, Marcela Gracia-Leiva, Nekane Basabe, Ginés Navarro-Carrillo, Ana Maria Cazan, Saeed Keshavarzi, Wilson López-López, Illia Yahiiaiev, Carolina Alzugaray-Ponce, Loreto Villagrán, Emilio Moyano-Díaz, Nebojša Petrović, Anderson Mathias, Elza M. Techio, Anna Wlodarczyk, Laura Alfaro-Beracoechea, Manuel L. IbarraAndreas Michael, Sumeet Mhaskar, Gonzalo Martínez-Zelaya, Marian Bilbao, Gisela Delfino, Catarina L. Carvalho, Isabel R. Pinto, Falak Zehra Mohsin, Agustín Espinosa, Rosa María Cueto, Stefano Cavalli, Silvia da Costa, Alberto Amutio, Itziar Alonso-Arbiol, Darío Páez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although different social crises may eventually favor undemocratic and authoritarian forms of governance, at some point, such antidemocratic practices require the support of a significant part of the population to be implemented. The present research investigates how and whether the COVID-19 pandemic might have favoured greater support for antidemocratic governmental practices, on the premise of regaining control and security. Using data from 17 countries (N = 4364) and national-level indicators (i.e., real number of contagions and deaths, and sociopolitical indicators), we test how the risk of contagion and death from COVID-19, along with personal orientations (i.e., social dominance orientation [SDO], right-wing authoritarianism [RWA], and perceived anomie) motivate authoritarian and antidemocratic practices. Results from multilevel models indicate that risk perception and perceptions of political instability predict a wish for stronger leadership, agreement with martial law, and support for a controlling government especially when SDO and RWA are high, while more egalitarian and less conservative people agree less with these authoritarian measures in spite of the levels of risk perception. We discuss the implications for these findings for future research on similar but also dissimilar external events (natural disasters, war, or terror incidents) and the consequences for societies with higher authoritarian tendencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-433
Number of pages27
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • RWA
  • SDO
  • antidemocratic practices
  • authoritarianism
  • risk perception

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