Imagining a Personalized Scenario Selectively Increases Perceived Risk of Viral Transmission for Older Adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a serious and prolonged public-health emergency. Older adults have been at substantially greater risk of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death due to COVID-19; as of February 2021, over 81% of COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. occurred for people over the age of 651,2. Converging evidence from around the world suggests that age is the greatest risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness and for the experience of adverse health outcomes3,4. Therefore, effectively communicating health-related risk information requires tailoring interventions to older adults' needs5. Using a novel informational intervention with a nationally-representative sample of 546 U.S. residents, we found that older adults reported increased perceived risk of COVID-19 transmission after imagining a personalized scenario with social consequences. Although older adults tended to forget numerical information over time, the personalized simulations elicited increases in perceived risk that persisted over a 1-3 week delay. Overall, our results bear broad implications for communicating information about health risks to older adults, and they suggest new strategies to combat annual influenza outbreaks.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sinclair, AH; Stanley, ML; Hakimi, S; Cabeza, R; Adcock, RA; Samanez-Larkin, GR

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 1 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 677 - 683

PubMed ID

  • 35990532

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9387905

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2662-8465

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s43587-021-00095-7


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States