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PERCEPTION OF CORONAVIRUS AS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT AND CONFORMANCE WITH SOCIAL DISTANCE PROTOCOL

R. M. Labe, A. S. Otene, P. M. Inunduh, G. T. Akume

Abstract: The study assesses perception of coronavirus as an existential and conformance to social distance among citizens in Benue state. A total of 343 participants comprised of 187(54.5%) males and 157(45.8%) females. Participants responded to a self-developed questionnaire which has a Cronbach alpha coefficient was.76. The study was a correlational research design. Results, shows there is a significant positive correlation between conformists’ perception of coronavirus as an existential threat and conformance to social distance, r (343) = .559, p< .0.01 for hypothesis one. There was a negative correlation between oppositional group perceptions of coronavirus as an existential threat and conformance to social distance, r (343) = -.175, p< .0.01 for hypothesis two. Hypothesis three shows there is a significant difference in the perception of coronavirus as an existential threat and conformance to social distance between conformists score (M=12.7360, SD=2.39721) and oppositional score (M=16.0242, = 3.03586), t (341) = -7.012, p< .05). A significant difference was also observed in the perception of coronavirus as an existential threat and conformance to social distance between the male scores of (M=14.3520, SD=4.47642) and female scores of (M=14.5137, SD= 4.84979), t (323) = -3.312, p< .05). Findings from this study show that, coronavirus is an existential threat to human life. Nevertheless, people differed in their attitude to conformance to social distance protocol. The peoples’ view of coronavirus and response to social distance should help to deepen government and health managers understanding to strengthen health policy and measures on disease control in future outbreaks.
Keywords: social distance / response to social / coronavirus / existential threat / threat and conformance / conformance to social

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