This study examined the social representations of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Italy. We used the technique of free word association involving 1572 adults living in Italy. An open coding procedure and content analysis lead to the identification of 13 key topics representing the categorisation of concepts that emerged from the elicited words. The most common categories were spread of the virus, negative feelings, life during quarantine, and health consequences of the virus. Multidimensional scaling of co-occurrences of categories revealed these categories were grouped into four thematic areas. In addition, we found that the frequency of the categories of words was associated with gender, age, well-being, and mental health symptoms. By revealing complex and differentiated social representations, results from the present study provide a comprehensive insight on Italian people’s perception of COVID-19 outbreak in the Spring of 2020. This early study of social representations forms a useful basis for later studies, in order to understand how collective understandings and framings of risk have evolved across the duration of the pandemic.

People’s understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic: social representations of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Italy

Prati, Gabriele
;
Tzankova, Iana;Barbieri, Irene;Guarino, Antonella;Compare, Christian;Albanesi, Cinzia;Cicognani, Elvira
2021

Abstract

This study examined the social representations of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Italy. We used the technique of free word association involving 1572 adults living in Italy. An open coding procedure and content analysis lead to the identification of 13 key topics representing the categorisation of concepts that emerged from the elicited words. The most common categories were spread of the virus, negative feelings, life during quarantine, and health consequences of the virus. Multidimensional scaling of co-occurrences of categories revealed these categories were grouped into four thematic areas. In addition, we found that the frequency of the categories of words was associated with gender, age, well-being, and mental health symptoms. By revealing complex and differentiated social representations, results from the present study provide a comprehensive insight on Italian people’s perception of COVID-19 outbreak in the Spring of 2020. This early study of social representations forms a useful basis for later studies, in order to understand how collective understandings and framings of risk have evolved across the duration of the pandemic.
Prati, Gabriele; Tzankova, Iana; Barbieri, Irene; Guarino, Antonella; Compare, Christian; Albanesi, Cinzia; Cicognani, Elvira
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/830978
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