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Hawks Vs. Doves: Level Of Burnout And Media Consumption Difference

Russians toward the war against Ukraine (“special military operation” or “SMO”)

[
Psychological Research
]
Dec 28, 2022
7 min read

Executive Summary

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Psychological mobilization at a personal level is about how individuals prepare and react to conflicts like war. It's key to understanding how people mentally cope with and adapt to such situations. This report looks at how personal mental well-being, especially burnout levels, relates to support for war among Russian respondents.

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Results:

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  • People who oppose the war tend to exhibit higher levels of emotional burnout symptoms, indicating a significant negative correlation between support for the conflict and burnout. This suggests that individuals who support the war generally experience better psychological well-being, whereas those against the war are more likely to exhibit pessimistic attitudes.


  • The political self-efficacy (belief in one’s own and collective capacity to effectively cause changes in the world) of the ‘war hawks’ is much higher than the confidence of the ‘peace doves’ in their ability to achieve peace. The first ones feel much less anger, fear, and much more enthusiasm towards the ongoing war.

  • The most preferred platforms for media consumption are Telegram (45.8%) and Youtube (37.3%).

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Sampling and Methodology

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The data was collected on 20th-23rd of December. The sample was stratified by sex and age (equal age and sex groups 18-30, 31-44, 45-60 years). The data was cleaned, and the analysis excluded people who answered only some of the questions and gave adequate answers about their age. The final sample comprised 780 respondents, 386 men and 394 women. The mean age of the respondents is 37.6, and the standard deviation is 11.1.

Respondents were asked to answer a series of psychological tests and “socially significant questions” on the online platform.

We used W. B. Schaufeli's Burnout Assessment test (BAT-12) combined with the questionnaire about social media activity, support of the war and peaceful negotiations, and overall emotions about the war. The questions from the test were changed to measure the general burnout symptoms (not the professional burnout only) and self-efficacy (a belief in one's ability to reach political goals through personal actions).

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Key Findings

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War Support & Media Consumption

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Respondents receive information about the “special military operation” mainly from Telegram (45.8%), YouTube (37.3%), and VKontakte (37.3%). Television was not included in the survey: the popularity of TV programs about politics and war in Russia is rapidly decreasing. In general, interest in the war among Russians is becoming relatively low and doesn’t reflect the significance of these events on the country and the world.

Support for the war is associated to the use of Odnoklassniki (r = 0.18, p < 0.001) and WhatsApp (r = 0.11, p < 0.001), and negatively correlated with the use of Twitter (r = -0.16, p < 0.001) and YouTube (r = -0.15, p < 0.001).

Apparently, the reason for this is the tendency of older people to both support the war against Ukraine and use Odnoklassniki and WhatsApp. Young people, in turn, prefer YouTube and Twitter and are much less likely to agree that war is needed and that it is generally a good idea.

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Supporters of the war against Ukraine see positive mentions of the war in social media (r = 0.588, p < 0.001) and don’t see (or rather don’t notice) the negative ones (r = 0.462, p < 0.001). They also seem to spread mostly the good news about it themselves (r = 0.374, p < 0.001).

The war enthusiasts highly identify themselves with their like-minded people, other pro-war Russians (r = 0.911, p < 0.001), and don’t identify with those who advocate peace negotiations (r = -0.4, p < 0.001).

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War Support & Burnout

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As you can see on the chart, the ‘hawks’ demonstrate a univocally lower level of emotional burnout symptoms than the ‘doves.’

The more the respondents support the “special military operation,” the more confident they are about achieving its goals, and the higher their feeling of collective self-efficacy - the belief that people can reach their political goals by acting together (r = 0.663, p < 0.001). Thus, Russians who are against war practically do not believe in the possibility of uniting and effectively opposing the war.

War supporters also feel much less anger (r = -0.46, p < 0.001), fear (r = -0.471, p < 0.001), and much more happiness (r = 0.242, p < 0.001) towards the “SMO”.

The lower the support for the war, the more respondents believe peace negotiators can bring a good change (r = -0.146, p < 0.001). Nevertheless, the self-esteem of the supporters of the war is four times higher than that of the opponents in their ability to achieve peace.

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Conclusion

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As we may see, being in opposition to current events is more mentally challenging for Russians than supporting them. The lowest indicators of emotional burnout are observed among confident supporters of the “SMO,” and the highest - among the opponents of the “SMO.”

Supporters of the war assume they are in the majority, and the military invasion corresponds with their values because they feel better than those against it.

There are mostly Russian-founded social media in TOP-3 resources for Russians to get news from, which signals both about their popularity and the prohibition of the foreign platforms on the state level in Russia.

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[
Psychological Research
]
Dec 28, 2022
7 min read
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