How culturally unique are pandemic effects? Evaluating cultural similarities and differences in effects of age, biological sex, and political beliefs on COVID impacts

Lucian Gideon Conway, Shailee R. Woodard, Alivia Zubrod, Marcela Tiburcio, Nora Angélica Martínez-Vélez, Angela Sorgente, Margherita Lanz, Joyce Serido, Rimantas Vosylis, Gabriela Fonseca, Žan Lep, Lijun Li, Maja Zupančič, Carla Crespo, Ana Paula Relvas, Kostas A. Papageorgiou, Foteini Maria Gianniou, Tayler Truhan, Dara Mojtahedi, Sophie HullCaroline Lilley, Derry Canning, Esra Ulukök, Adnan Akın, Claudia Massaccesi, Emilio Chiappini, Riccardo Paracampo, Sebastian Korb, Magdalena Szaflarski, Almamy Amara Touré, Lansana Mady Camara, Aboubacar Sidiki Magassouba, Abdoulaye Doumbouya, Melis Mutlu, Zeynep Nergiz Bozkurt, Karolina Grotkowski, Aneta M. Przepiórka, Nadia Saraí Corral-Frías, David Watson, Alejandro Corona Espinosa, Marc Yancy Lucas, Francesca Giorgia Paleari, Kristina Tchalova, Amy J.P. Gregory, Talya Azrieli, Jennifer A. Bartz, Harry Farmer, Simon B. Goldberg, Melissa A. Rosenkranz, Jennifer Pickett, Jessica L. Mackelprang, Janessa M. Graves, Catherine Orr, Rozel Balmores-Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Despite being bio-epidemiological phenomena, the causes and effects of pandemics are culturally influenced in ways that go beyond national boundaries. However, they are often studied in isolated pockets, and this fact makes it difficult to parse the unique influence of specific cultural psychologies. To help fill in this gap, the present study applies existing cultural theories via linear mixed modeling to test the influence of unique cultural factors in a multi-national sample (that moves beyond Western nations) on the effects of age, biological sex, and political beliefs on pandemic outcomes that include adverse financial impacts, adverse resource impacts, adverse psychological impacts, and the health impacts of COVID. Our study spanned 19 nations (participant N = 14,133) and involved translations into 9 languages. Linear mixed models revealed similarities across cultures, with both young persons and women reporting worse outcomes from COVID across the multi-national sample. However, these effects were generally qualified by culture-specific variance, and overall more evidence emerged for effects unique to each culture than effects similar across cultures. Follow-up analyses suggested this cultural variability was consistent with models of pre-existing inequalities and socioecological stressors exacerbating the effects of the pandemic. Collectively, this evidence highlights the importance of developing culturally flexible models for understanding the cross-cultural nature of pandemic psychology beyond typical WEIRD approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number937211
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Dec 19 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K23AT010879.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Conway, Woodard, Zubrod, Tiburcio, Martínez-Vélez, Sorgente, Lanz, Serido, Vosylis, Fonseca, Lep, Li, Zupančič, Crespo, Relvas, Papageorgiou, Gianniou, Truhan, Mojtahedi, Hull, Lilley, Canning, Ulukök, Akın, Massaccesi, Chiappini, Paracampo, Korb, Szaflarski, Touré, Camara, Magassouba, Doumbouya, Mutlu, Bozkurt, Grotkowski, Przepiórka, Corral-Frías, Watson, Corona Espinosa, Lucas, Paleari, Tchalova, Gregory, Azrieli, Bartz, Farmer, Goldberg, Rosenkranz, Pickett, Mackelprang, Graves, Orr and Balmores-Paulino.


  • COVID-19
  • adverse psychological change
  • age
  • biological sex
  • cross-cultural psychology
  • cultural psychology
  • pandemic psychology
  • political beliefs


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