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Title: Disease history and life history predict behavioral control of the covid-19 pandemic
Authors: Lu, HJ 
Liu, YY
O, J
Guo, S 
Zhu, N
Chen, BB
Lansford, JE
Chang, L
Issue Date: Jan-2021
Source: Evolutionary psychology, 1 Jan. 2021, v. 19, no. 1, p. 1- 9
Abstract: It is puzzling why countries do not all implement stringent behavioral control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 even though preventive behaviors have been proven to be the only effective means to stop the pandemic. We provide a novel evolutionary life history explanation whereby pathogenic and parasitic prevalence represents intrinsic rather than extrinsic mortality risk that drives slower life history strategies and the related disease control motivation in all animals but especially humans. Our theory was tested and supported based on publicly available data involving over 150 countries. Countries having a higher historical prevalence of infectious diseases are found to adopt slower life history strategies that are related to prompter COVID-19 containment actions by the government and greater compliance by the population. Findings could afford governments novel insight into the design of more effective COVID-19 strategies that are based on enhancing a sense of control, vigilance, and compliance in the general population.
Keywords: COVID-19 containment
Disease control efforts
Fast and slow life history
Historical pathogen prevalence
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Journal: Evolutionary psychology 
EISSN: 1474-7049
DOI: 10.1177/14747049211000714
Rights: Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
The following publication 1. Lu HJ, Liu YY, O J, et al. Disease History and Life History Predict Behavioral Control of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Evolutionary Psychology. January 2021 is available at doi:10.1177/14747049211000714
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