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Vigoda-Gadot et al. (2023). Citizens’ reactions to global crises: a longitudinal study during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel.

Bibliographic details:

Vigoda-Gadot, E., Mizrahi, S., Cohen, N. et al. Citizens’ reactions to global crises: a longitudinal study during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. SN Soc Sci 3, 24 (2023).

This paper investigated citizens’ reactions to global crises using the COVID-19 pandemic as a natural experiment. Theories in this field are controversial and thus knowledge on such reactions, their evolution, drivers, and consequences is limited. Building on several socio-psychological foundations such as trust building theories, the fear appeal theory, the theory of planned behavior, and the spillover theory, we explain developments in three major human responses: (1) perceptual and attitudinal responses such as trust in governance and interpersonal trust; (2) emotional responses such as fear of crises; and (3) behavioral responses such as civic engagement. Using a longitudinal design, we tracked the attitudes and behaviors of Israeli citizens over 22 months (7/2019-3/2021) and at four points in time (t1–t4). Findings are based on a time-lagged analysis of 3527 participants (n1 = 602; n2 = 750; n3 = 970; n4 = 1205), and a more focused analysis of panel data (n1–4 = 256). In accordance with our theoretical foundations and specific models, we revealed a reaction pattern of shock→recognition→adjustment→reframing. We maintain that our findings improve understanding of citizens’ reactions to government policies. They provide unique empirical evidence for resilience among citizens and across social structures which testify to bouncing-back capacities from global crises in various ways. Its lessons may thus direct future studies on the relationship between citizens and governments in other global crises and emergencies.