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Ermolaev V.V., Voroncova Ju., Nasonova D.K., Chetverikova A.I. (2021). Dynamics of Russian citizens’ social fears during the first and second waves of COVID-19. National Psychological Journal, [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], 2021, (41)1, 27-38. doi: 10.11621/npj.2021.0103


Background. The study of the psychological characteristics of social fears during the first wave of COVID-19 indicated that Russian citizens were massively in a state of fear. The persisting threat of a pandemic throughout the year, the inconsistency of managerial decisions in the absence of a coherent strategy to combat COVID-19, obviously create growing social tension in Russia, which is projected onto the psychological level of the state of modern society. 

Objective. To identify the dynamics of social fears among Russian citizens during the first and second waves of COVID-19. Hypothesis: there is a tendency for the growth of social fears among Russian citizens during the second wave of COVID-19, while the media continues to form a depressive and depressing “picture of the world”.

Design. Psychodiagnostics was carried out remotely using Google forms. Sample size: 497 people. At the first stage (the first wave —March / April, 2020), 253 people were tested. At the second stage (second wave —October / November, 2020), 244 people passed testing, of which 150 took part in the periods of both the first and second waves, and 94 —only during the second wave. At the third stage, statistical analysis was carried out in order to identify the dynamics of social fears. 

ResultsFrom the moment COVID-19 began to the peak of the second wave, Russian citizens showed negative dynamics, characterized by: 1) an increase in the experience of social fears associated with failure and defeat, as well as rejection and suppression; 2) an increase in the imbalance of trust caused by the growth of trust in the world and others, as trustworthy sources of information about the current danger, against the background of a steadily reduced trust in oneself; 3) a decrease in optimism and faith in the future with an increase in the intensity of emotional stress, as well as a desire to delegate responsibility for the events of one's own life; 4) a general decrease in efficiency (based on the results of self-report). 

Conclusion. The information broadcast by the media about COVID-19 has a systemic psychological impact through the demonstration of a pessimistic “picture of the world”, which, creating an aggressive information field literally enveloping the psyche, destroys its self-confidence, social ties and group cohesion, and also fills it social fears, increasing the sense of social deprivation. The intended consequences will send the psychological community to develop a predictive model for overcoming this situation. In our opinion, the main thing in the work with the consequences of the pandemic is psychological assistance, the basis of which should be the methods of correction of the cognitive-affective sphere of the individual —the return of self-confidence and the transformation of the “picture of the world” of the present and future into a positive one. Particular attention should be paid to increasing collective cohesion and setting group goals that outline the future positive “picture of the world” of Russian society.

Received: 01/27/2021
Accepted: 02/21/2021
Pages: 27-38
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2021.0103

Sections: Social Psychology;


Keywords: dynamics of social fears; COVID-19; news feed; picture of the world; trust; locus of control

Available Online 30.03.2021

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For citing this article:

Ermolaev V.V., Voroncova Ju., Nasonova D.K., Chetverikova A.I. (2021). Dynamics of Russian citizens’ social fears during the first and second waves of COVID-19. National Psychological Journal, [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], 2021, (41)1, 27-38. doi: 10.11621/npj.2021.0103

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