Psychological disease avoidance linked to preventative behavior

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Creeped out by cooties? Grossed out by germs? Squeamish about sickness?

If so, then you might also find yourself engaging in more preventative health behaviors, like frequent handwashing and disinfecting your living environment, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

More than other factors, strong feelings of germ aversion and pathogen disgust are significantly associated with concern about COVID-19 and preventative behavior, according to findings from UConn School of Nursing researchers published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The findings are part of a year-long examination of how behavior and social attitudes change, and what factors influence those changes, when people in the United States are faced with the threat of widespread disease. Supported by a National Science Foundation grant, the study is tracking the well-being, feelings, and behavioral practices of about 1,000 individuals across the country, and more than 18 surveys of the participants have already been conducted since kicking off in March.

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