- 公益社団法人 日本心理学会
- 心理学研究 (ISSN:00215236)
- vol.81, no.4, pp.420-425, 2010 (Released:2011-04-20)
Calling attention to potential risks does not always lead to preventative actions. To investigate changes in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses towards potential risks, longitudinal studies targeting nonclinical samples of undergraduate students were conducted at 4 time points (April, May, June, and July 2009) during the outbreak of swine flu in 2009, which eventually developed in to a global pandemic. During the course of the study, the risk of swine flu infection for the seventy-nine participants became more and more self-relevant as the situation developed in the news and as their university was temporarily closed off. The results indicate that despite increasing knowledge about the swine flu, the level of anxiety showed steady decrease as the time went by. Similarly, despite the expanding infection around the globe, the level of preventative behavior remained low. Moreover, participants reported perceiving their own risk to be significantly lower than that of average undergraduate students at all time points. These findings indicate that even when potential risks are clearly communicated, too much information, saturated emotions, and optimistic bias may obstruct people from taking appropriate preventative actions.