Swine Flu Survey: How Scared Are You?

Never mind how unlikely your imminent swine flu case actually is, how freaked out are you by the possibility you’ll catch the disease? Researchers at Stanford are tracking answers to this (paraphrased) question through an anonymous online swine flu survey, which you can take here.

Via Marcel Salathé at Miller-McCune:

Clearly, people are aware of the swine flu, but they perceive the threat very differently and react very differently. How awareness and the consequent behavioral change affects the spread of an epidemic is a topic of intense research—just this past week, my colleague Sebastian Funk at the Royal Holloway University of London published the results of a mathematical model that demonstrates how awareness can alter the progression of an epidemic.

What we need now are good data on the level of awareness, on how people perceive the threat of a pandemic and on how they will react to it. Such data are rare and generally collected only after an epidemic has passed. This is problematic because what we are currently experiencing and what we will remember in the future to have experienced now can be vastly different. The goal of our survey is to gather such data as the epidemic unfolds—that is, right now.

Well worth checking out the Miller-McCune backgrounder on the survey—don’t miss those vintage flu warning posters.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.