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Imagining a post-Corona future: a qualitative study on how uncertainty attitudes are related to people’s use of futures consciousness

Lechtermann, Maren (2021) Imagining a post-Corona future: a qualitative study on how uncertainty attitudes are related to people’s use of futures consciousness.

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Abstract:The capacity of futures consciousness (FC) entails the ability to anticipate and plan for the future and is considered to be crucial in facing future uncertainties. Especially in times of rapid change such as during the Corona pandemic, the capacity to be future conscious becomes even more relevant. Life scripts as they were known before the pandemic were disrupted for people on a global scale; offering insights into how futures consciousness may operate beyond its usual functioning. This study investigated how the five dimensions of futures consciousness (Time Perspective, Agency Beliefs, Openness to Alternatives, Systems Perception, and Concern for Others) (Ahvenharju, Minkkinen, & Lalot, 2018) vary depending on (un-) certainty attitudes brought about by the pandemic. Letters from the Future (Sools, 2020) from 36 participants aged between 17 years and 81 years from a multitude of countries were qualitatively analyzed using a context-sensitive futures consciousness model (Sools et al., in press). Participant’s (un-) certainty attitudes were calculated based on a scale developed for this study. Results demonstrate that letters from high and low certainty participants differed on the first three dimensions. On the first dimension, Time Perspective, the low certainty group imagined their future to be characterized by a new pandemic normal while the high certainty group showed the tendency to imagine a future without Corona. On the second dimension, Agency Beliefs, people in the low certainty group attributed themselves lower agency beliefs compared to the high certainty group. On the Openness to Alternatives dimension, the low certainty group proportionally took a closed stance towards the future more often than the high certainty group. On the last two dimensions, Systems Perception and Concern for Others, no differences were found. Finally, the article discusses how this study added to the validity of the (un-) certainty scale and gives suggestions for future research to investigate in more detail which variables may have played a role in the lack of differences between the groups on the last two dimensions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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