Fearing fear itself: Crowdsourced longitudinal data on Covid-19-related fear in Sweden.

Tishelman C, Hultin-Rosenberg J, Hadders A, Eriksson LE

PLoS One 16 (7) e0253371 [2021-07-01; online 2021-07-01]

The Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on individual lives and livelihoods as well as on social, health, economic and political systems and structures across the world. This article derives from a unique collaboration between researchers and museums using rapid response crowdsourcing to document contemporary life among the general public during the pandemic crisis in Sweden. We use qualitative analysis to explore the narrative crowdsourced submissions of the same 88 individuals at two timepoints, during the 1st and 2nd pandemic waves, about what they most fear in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, and how their descriptions changed over time. In this self-selected group, we found that aspects they most feared generally concerned responses to the pandemic on a societal level, rather than to the Covid-19 disease itself or other health-related issues. The most salient fears included a broad array of societal issues, including general societal collapse and fears about effects on social and political interactions among people with resulting impact on political order. Notably strong support for the Swedish pandemic response was expressed, despite both national and international criticism. This analysis fills a notable gap in research literature that lacks subjective and detailed investigation of experiences of the general public, despite recognition of the widespread effects of Covid-19 and its' management strategies. Findings address controversy about the role of experts in formulating and communicating strategy, as well as implications of human responses to existential threats. Based on this analysis, we call for broader focus on societal issues related to this existential threat and the responses to it.

Category: Social Science & Humanities

Type: Journal article

PubMed 34197498

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0253371

Crossref 10.1371/journal.pone.0253371

pii: PONE-D-21-13032

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