Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Xiaowen Xu

Committee Members

Jennifer Stevens

Dennis Smith


Past research found that the personality aspect Orderliness was more strongly associated with conservatism, while Compassion was more strongly associated with liberalism. The present research aimed to examine whether framing COVID-19 safety precautions (about mask wearing, social distancing, and vaccination) with an Orderliness or Compassion focus would make the message more receptive to liberals and conservatives. We hypothesized that reframing the messages to match with the participants’ personality and ideological leanings would lead to greater support for the message. In our study (N = 679), participants read a COVID-19 safety precaution message with either an Orderliness or Compassion frame for one of the three safety precautions, and completed measures of personality, political orientation, and integrated COVID-19 threat. We found that contrary to our hypotheses, there were no interactions between the personality-reframed messages and political ideology. However, here was a significant political ideology main effect, with liberals generally being more supportive of COVID-19 safety precautions. We also found that Libertarian Independence (LI), a specific type of conservatism, had a significant negative relationship with support for all three types of COVID-19 precautions. As well, those who viewed COVID-19 as a symbolic threat were also more likely to oppose the COVID-19 safety measures, compared to those who viewed COVID-19 as a realistic threat. The present findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of how people view and endorse COVID-19 safety precaution measures and how we implement public health messaging in the future.