The Conditional Associations of Authoritarianism with Americans’ Responses to COVID-19: An Out-of-Sample Replication

05 July 2023, Version 2
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Seeking to understand why right-wing Americans adopted a lax response to COVID-19 despite psychological theories of threat sensitivity and dispositional security needs that might have predicted the opposite, Ollerenshaw (2022) shows dispositional authoritarianism was conditionally associated with Americans’ responses to COVID-19. Ollerenshaw (2022) finds authoritarianism was directly associated with greater concern for COVID-19 and concomitant health behaviors and preferences toward public health restrictions; indirectly, however, authoritarianism was associated with right-wing identification and cue-taking for politically engaged Americans, which reduced these individuals’ concern over COVID-19 and their willingness to adopt health behaviors and support public health restrictions. In this note, I replicate Ollerenshaw (2022) using the Voter Study Group survey. I similarly find authoritarianism was conditionally related to concerns about COVID-19 and preferences toward public health restrictions, with similar or larger effects. This replication adds weight to Ollerenshaw’s (2022) claim that psychological traits and political context jointly influenced Americans’ COVID-19 responses.


Political Engagement


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