Perceived Legitimacy of Antipandemic Measures: Findings From West and East Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia at the Peak of the COVID-19 Crisis

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Abstract

This interdisciplinary study examines the cross-cultural differences between the perceived legitimacy of antipandemic measures during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in three Central European countries and four independent samples (West Germany, East Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia). A total of 2,752 participants completed a newly developed seven-item scale that inquired whether governmental regulations were perceived as fair, justified, and based on science and whether the government considered citizens’ needs and the interests of their country, etc. The analysis was done within the structural equation modeling framework. Scalar measurement invariance was successfully established between the studied countries, and a subsequent latent means comparison supported the hypothesis that German respondents would report higher legitimacy of the governmental antipandemic regulations than respondents from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Additionally, as expected, the participants from the new German Länder (former East Germany) also manifested a consistent tendency to view governmental regulations as less legitimate than their Western fellow citizens. The results are discussed in terms of normative factors (i.e., the qualities of the authority which adopted the antipandemic measures, the qualities of the procedure through which these measures were adopted, and the qualities of the measures themselves), psycho-socio-cultural factors (e.g., postcommunist syndrome), and the influence of demographic variables.

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Lacko, D., Horák, F., Klicperová-Baker, M., Šerek, J., & Boehnke, K. (2023). Perceived Legitimacy of Antipandemic Measures: Findings From West and East Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia at the Peak of the COVID-19 Crisis. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 29(4), 549–562. https://doi.org/10.1037/law0000395

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