Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Exploring the Limits of the Cleanliness-Morality Link During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Cho, Sarah
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Middle Tennessee State University
The current study aims to explore the bounds of the conceptual link between cleanliness and morality by investigating scrupulosity as a potential mediating factor in the relationship between negative God-concept and fear of contracting COVID-19. That is, the goal of the study is to better understand whether the cleanliness-morality link is literal or metaphorical in nature by examining whether this phenomenon extends to contamination fears. Ninety-nine participants were administered assessments measuring fear of COVID-19, negative God-concept, scrupulosity, and social desirability, which was used as a covariate. Results showed that there was a positive correlation between scrupulosity and negative-God concept, a positive relationship between COVID-19 stress and scrupulosity, and a positive relationship between scrupulosity and negative God-concept. However, these relationships were non-significant when controlling for social desirability. In addition, scrupulosity did not significantly mediate the relationship between negative God-concept and fear of COVID-19 with social desirability as a covariate. Implications of these findings and future directions for research are discussed.
Cleanliness-morality link, COVID-19, Disgust, God-concept, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Scrupulosity, Clinical psychology, Psychology