Recent findings on COVID-19 indicate that during a pandemic consumers focus on themselves and protection of their health and safety as an immediate major concern. However, there is little understanding of how the perceived threat of an infectious disease influences sustainable consumption behavior. Through a series of laboratory experiments on chocolate bar and laundry detergent choices, I found that the COVID-19 pandemic increased consumers' perceived threat, leading to a decrease in sustainable (vs. nonsustainable) products. Further, the results of a survey comprising 402 U.S. consumers show that perceived threat from the pandemic increased their self-centeredness, the effects of which were driven by a series of consequence-related negative emotions. My findings provide insights for firms promoting socially responsible products and citizens who consider sustainability a major long-term concern.
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- Consumer behavior
- Infectious disease
- Negative emotions
- Perceived threat
- Sustainable consumption