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From bad to worse: Avoidance coping with stress increases conspiracy beliefs

Marchlewska, Marta, Green, Ricky, Cichocka, Aleksandra, Molenda, Zuzanna, Douglas, Karen (2021) From bad to worse: Avoidance coping with stress increases conspiracy beliefs. British Journal of Social Psychology, . ISSN 0144-6665. E-ISSN 2044-8309. (doi:10.1111/bjso.12494) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:89804)

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Abstract

The present research empirically examines how different types of coping strategies are associated with belief in conspiracy theories. Conspiracy beliefs have been linked to the frustration of basic needs and seem to increase during major world events that evoke stress. Thus, we hypothesized that they may serve as a psychological response to maladaptive coping strategies. This hypothesis was tested among British participants and conceptually replicated across three studies. Cross-sectionally, we examined coping strategies (i.e., self-sufficient, social-support, avoidance, and religious) and belief in a specific conspiracy theory (Study 1, n = 199) and belief in general notions of conspiracy (Study 2, n = 411). In Study 3 (n = 398), we experimentally primed different coping styles via a mnemonic recollection procedure and measured belief in notions of conspiracy. Avoidance coping (recognized as being maladaptive and leading to at least temporary disengagement and abandonment of goal-related behaviours) positively predicted belief in conspiracy theories (Studies 1 and 2). In Study 3, priming avoidance coping (vs. self-sufficient coping or no coping strategy) significantly increased belief in conspiracy theories. These findings suggest that using maladaptive coping strategies (either dispositional or situationally induced) may foster conspiracy beliefs.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/bjso.12494
Uncontrolled keywords: coping strategies, avoidance coping, religious coping, conspiracy beliefs
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Douglas
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2021 11:11 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2021 16:18 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/89804 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cichocka, Aleksandra: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1703-1586
Douglas, Karen: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0381-6924
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