The Psychology of Pandemics: Preparing for the Next Global Outbreak of Infectious Disease
Pandemics are large-scale epidemics that spread throughout the world. Virologists predict that the next pandemic could occur in the coming years, probably from some form of influenza, with potentially devastating consequences. Vaccinations, if available, and behavioral methods are vital for stemming the spread of infection. However, remarkably little attention has been devoted to the psychological factors that influence the spread of pandemic infection and the associated emotional distress and social disruption. Psychological factors are important for many reasons. They play a role in nonadherence to vaccination and hygiene programs, and play an important role in how people cope with the threat of infection and associated losses. Psychological factors are important for understanding and managing societal problems associated with pandemics, such as the spreading of excessive fear, stigmatization, and xenophobia that occur when people are threatened with infection. This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the psychology of pandemics. It describes the psychological reactions to pandemics, including maladaptive behaviors, emotions, and defensive reactions, and reviews the psychological vulnerability factors that contribute to the spreading of disease and distress. It also considers empirically supported methods for addressing these problems, and outlines the implications for public health planning.
Steven Taylor, PhD, is a Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He received his MSc from the University of Melbourne, and his PhD from the University of British Columbia. His research and clinical work has focused largely on anxiety disorders and related clinical conditions, including fears and phobias, health anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He has authored over 300 scientific publications and more than 20 books, which have been translated into many languages. His books include Understanding and Treating Panic Disorder, Treating Health Anxiety, and Clinician’s Guide to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He has also served as Editor and Associate Editor of several academic journals, including Behaviour Research and Therapy, Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, and the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders. He maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver, BC, specializing in mood and anxiety disorders.
“Dr Taylor has pulled together a wide range of research to provide a clear, engaging and scholarly analysis of historical, social, and psychological factors involved in pandemics. This text will prove a valuable resource for policy-makers who are engaged in public health and management in times of health crises. It will also be highly useful for mental health practitioners who regularly treat anxious individuals, a group particularly susceptible to distress in times of pandemic risk. A true must-read!”
(Dean McKay, Professor of Psychology, Fordham University)
“In the first volume of its kind, The Psychology of Pandemics addresses the role of psychological factors in understanding pandemics and preventing the spread of infection. Building on his own seminal work in the area of anxiety and fear, and drawing from research from public health, social psychology, epidemiology, and several other disciplines, Taylor reveals the psychology behind pandemics and lays out strategies for changing the psychosocial factors that contribute to the spread of disease. This highly accessible and well researched book is strongly recommended for anyone interested in this important topic – especially those working in the area of public health.”
(Martin M. Antony, Professor of Psychology, Ryerson University)
“This is an innovative book that offers a comprehensive review of the psychological correlates and consequences of pandemics. The author is an internationally renowned expert that provides an engaging and insightful analysis of complex phenomena. This thoughtful book is guaranteed to be of interest to academics and the general public.”
(Bunmi O. Olatunji, Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training, Vanderbilt University)
"This is a timely and critical contribution from an author who understands the pulse of health-related anxiety and how to effectively manage it. The Psychology of Pandemics is a must read for researchers, scholars, health care professionals, and policy makers who may be involved in the managing the public in the face of a pandemic threat."
(Gordon J. G. Asmundson, Fellow, Royal Society of Canada and University of Regina Professor)
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