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Worldwide threats are supposed to unify humanity--this pandemic has widened the rift

Woman in MaskMing Wen, chairwoman of the University of Utah’s sociology department, says that no one has experienced this before “and we’re all processing what’s going on here.” In general, she says, individuals respond to their reality according to their personal situations, be that age or gender, race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, location, beliefs, health or priorities. And people also respond based on their environment, which includes family contexts, work- or school-related factors, exposure to information and peer pressure.

“All these are theoretically important factors contributing to individual attitudes and behaviors,” Wen says, “but we wouldn’t know which set of factors are the most important determinants of COVID-19-related attitudes and behaviors until we empirically study them.”

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Last Updated: 5/27/20