What is it about?
The manuscript defines the new term - VIRUISM. The term Viruism refers to pandemic related victimization and fears. We suggest considering the COVID-19 outbreak as a case of Viruism. To describe the different aspects of viruism, we compared the effects of viruism, with the effects of terrorism, including physical, economic, social, and psychological aspects. The comparison indicates that both phenomena manifest severe physical consequences. Nevertheless, these consequences are more limited than those of other much more “effective killers” as smoking, obesity, or air pollution. The comparison indicates that in case of terrorism and viruism there is a gap between the objective risk and subjective fears. This paper suggests exploring the psychosocial mechanisms that trigger public fears of and governments’ reactions to viruism, and presents several research directions. Our theoretical claims present an alternative and maybe even a counterintuitive point of view on public reactions following the COVID-19 outbreak. This point of view emphasizes the role of psychosocial factors in reaction and management of the outbreak. We suggest that this line of reasoning will open a new research domain on fear of viruism.
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Why is it important?
Viruism - is a new term that represents pandemic related victimization. The manuscript presents viruism by comparing it to terrorism. Viruism, similar to terrorism, includes physical, economic, social and psychological aspects. Although both phenomena manifest severe physical consequences, these consequences are more limited than those of other much more “effective killers” as smoking, obesity, or air-pollution. The comparison indicates that in case of terrorism and viruism there is a gap between the objective risk and subjective fears. Effective coping mechanisms dealing with the fear of viruism should be a significant aspect in research on and response to future pandemics.
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This page is a summary of: Viruism: The need for a new term describing COVID-19 impact in context of viral victimization., Psychological Trauma Theory Research Practice and Policy, January 2021, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/tra0000945.
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Researchers propose new term to account for psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic
The physical and mental threat of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its similarities to the threat of terrorism have led two researchers to call for a new term, “viruism,” to describe the widespread fear that a global health crisis can generate.
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