2022-09-23Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/ijerph191912067
How German and Italian Laypeople Reason about Distributive Shortages during COVID-19
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity to investigate how moral reasoning is influenced by individuals’ exposure to a crisis and by personal, societal and temporal proximity. We examined how Italians and Germans judged different behaviors that arose because of the pandemic, which affected health and societal matters. (2) Methods: Over the course of four months and three assessment periods, we used an observational online survey to assess participants’ judgments regarding seven scenarios that addressed distributive shortages during the pandemic. (3) Results: Overall, there was no clear answering pattern across all scenarios. For a variation of triage and pandemic restrictions, most participants selected a mean value, which can be interpreted as deferring the choice. For the other scenarios, most participants used the extremes of the scale, thereby reflecting a clear opinion of the public regarding the moral issue. In addition, moral reasoning varied across the two countries, assessment periods, fear, and age. (4) Conclusions: By using scenarios that were taken from real-life experiences, the current study addresses criticism that moral research mostly relies on unrealistic scenarios that lack in external validity, plausibility, and proximity to everyday situations. In addition, it shows how lay people regard measures of public health and societal decision-making.
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