Research Article Open Access

COVID-19 Pandemic and Religious Attributions. An Exploratory Study in Italy

Maurizio Norcia1 and Elisa Colì1
  • 1 Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy


In 2020, over 2 m Italian people contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus and more than 105 thousand died. A pandemic of this magnitude and the very stringent countermeasures adopted were unprecedented also in terms of its psychological, social, and economic far-reaching effects on people's lives. One of the principal effects of such a tragic and unexpected situation is that of triggering people's cause-seeking process. The exploratory study described in this article focuses on the search for causes carried out by people and prompted by the climate of great uncertainty that still characterizes the situation. In particular, the religious attributions for a possible contagion are examined, both for theoretical advancement and practical reasons, that is to limit the extent of the outbreak. The study involved 575 participants and analyzed the relationship between the reported causal attributions and respondents' characteristics, such as their religiosity. The main findings highlight that religious causal attributions have been chosen very rarely, even regardless of the perceived centrality of religion in one's life. Possible explanations are discussed, such as the "democratic" dynamic with which the contagion spread, the lack of gratification linked to the sense of uniqueness, and the sensation of controllability of the contagion given the overexposure to information.

Journal of Social Sciences
Volume 19 No. 1, 2023, 1-14


Submitted On: 16 March 2022 Published On: 6 February 2023

How to Cite: Norcia, M. & Colì, E. (2023). COVID-19 Pandemic and Religious Attributions. An Exploratory Study in Italy. Journal of Social Sciences, 19(1), 1-14.

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  • Religious Attributions
  • Cause-Seeking
  • Causal Dimensions
  • Health
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic