148. Exploring the Impact of College Students' COVID-19- and Capitol Insurrection-Related Horizontal and Vertical Collectivism/Individualism on Emotional Reaction to Those Events


      While many studies have explored individuals’ feelings related to recent national events, none have explored the relationship of individualism and collectivist leanings caused by these events on the individuals emotions related to those events. For this research we specifically focus on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the January 6 Capitol Insurrection.


      Data were collected from college students at a small, private midwestern private university over a 10-day period at the end of January and the beginning of February 2021. A Qualtrics survey was sent to 1,041 students who had completed a similar survey 5 months earlier related to their feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic. We used a subsample (N=314 students; 74.2% female; 83.4% White; 0.6% freshman, 24.5% sophomores, 34.7% juniors and 29.3% seniors) who provided complete data. Measures included horizontal (“We are the same, high freedom, equality”) and vertical (“I am different, Authority ranking, high freedom”) individualism as well as horizontal (“We are the same, share, less freedom”) and vertical (“I am different, sharing, authority ranking”) collectivism. Participants also provided data on the positive and negative affective responses to COVID-19 and to the January 6 Capitol Insurrection. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate the direct effects between individual and collectivism and the affective responses to each event (all standardized; Stata v. 17.0). Global fit was evaluated using the chi-square test and the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). Local fit was addressed using the Comparative Fit Index (CFI) and the Tucker Louis Index (TLI). We also investigated group differences by gender (male/female) and race (minority/white) where significant overall direct effects were observed.


      Fit indices (Chi-sq[df]: 60.99[31], p<.001; RMSEA[90% CI]: 0.046[0.035-0.076); CFI: 0.972; TLI: 0.905) suggested the specified model provided a good fit to the data. Higher COVID VI was associated with higher positive (B=0.12) and negative (B=0.15) affective reactions to COVID (B=0.12). Higher Capitol HI and HC were both associated with higher positive (both: B=0.21) and higher negative (B=0.12-0.23) affective reaction to the capitol riots. Higher COVID VI was associated with lower negative affective response (B=-0.16) to COVID. We observed no gender or race/ethnicity differences in these significant effects.


      Students who felt more strongly that people were the same (horizontal individualism and horizontal collectivism) were more likely to have both strong positive and negative emotions to the Janury 6th insurrection. For COVID-19 negative feelings, students whose feelings towards COVID were more individualistic had mixed results. Those who believed people are different (vertical individualism) were more likely to have lower negative feelings towards COVID-19 while those who believed people are the same (horizontal individualism) had greater negative feelings. These data have implications for scaffolding young adult support in advance of future socio-political emergencies.

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