Changes in emotion of the Chinese public in regard to the SARS period

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Xia Zhu
Shengjun Wu
Danmin Miao
Yunbo Li
Cite this article:  Zhu, X., Wu, S., Miao, D., & Li, Y. (2008). Changes in emotion of the Chinese public in regard to the SARS period. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36(4), 447-454.


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The aim in this study was to investigate the characteristics and regularity of changes in mental state of the Chinese public during the period of the SARS outbreak in China (2003). The self-administered SARS Mentality Questionnaire was sent to 8775 people who came from 20 different professions in the cities of Guangzhou (23.5%), Beijing (37.8%) and Xi’an (38.7%). Of the participants 59.4% were male. Ages ranged from 17 to 76 years. After the pilot study, 33 items were included in the questionnaire. Of the people surveyed, 96.4% presented marked emotional change and 23.3% showed blind behavior; 76.7% took “access to relevant information” as effective measures against emergencies; 45.5% believed that SARS would cause more harm to human beings than cancer, AIDS and suicide resulting from depression. The change of emotion during the SARS epidemic was significantly different, as compared to normal circumstances. The uncertainty people have about the epidemic development was a key cause of panic during this time.

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