Title : Hatred as a contagious disease and public health issue
Hatred has been studied for centuries by philosophers and theologians, and only more recently by social psychologists, anthropologists, and evolutionary scientists. However, there is still no consensus on a scientific or comprehensive theory, definition, or model of hatred. In the 21st century, hatred due to fear, incitement, and violence is presenting an unprecedented global existential threat. Hatred contributes to the burden of disease, death, and disability among individuals and communities. A significant portion of violence in the world is based on hatred of the other. Thus, this presentation will discuss Hatred, which can be conceptualized as a contagious disease, spreading violence, fear, and ignorance. Like traditionally known diseases, hatred is initially triggered by a causal agent or from harmful exposure. Once the exposure is manifested and incubated within the host, it can grow slowly over a period of time by continuous chronic exposure, or instantly by acute exposure. As the harmful exposure starts to grow, it will start to negatively impact the host’s functionality (health and wellbeing).
Measuring Hatred: The global community must recognize hatred as a public health and safety issue in order to move from the management of hatred to the active prevention of its root causes through promotion, education, and awareness. We must measure it as a first and necessary step, and if unable to prevent it, mitigate it. By developing a model of hatred, we can identify specific cognitive and interpersonal patterns influencing one’s behavior linked to hatred. With a psychometric tool that measures these processes, we can look at the specific pattern of scales in individuals high in hatred towards others. Then we can develop targeted interventions potentially reducing some of the violence attributed to hatred. The Abuelaish Hatred Scale (AHS) is currently under development and has undergone psychometric progress. Data has been collected from normative samples as well as samples of people who are intolerant of immigrants. Further data has been collected in Gaza from a Palestinian sample and analyzed to examine determinants of ingroup and outgroup perception of threat in relation to Hatred.
There is a need for studying hatred through a socio biomedical approach, for the academic community to establish a comprehensive understanding of its cause, spread, and symptoms. The establishment of the Global Institute for the Study of Socio-endemic Diseases (GISED), Hatred, Health and Peace aims to be the premier research facility for addressing and exploring the pathophysiology and socio epidemiology of hatred, among other socio-endemic diseases that have yet to receive adequate attention. This initiative strives to create a research hub for addressing socio-endemic diseases’ health impacts from a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, comprehensive, holistic, collaborative, and convergent approach.
Audience Take Away:
- The audience will benefit from this presentation by learning about a novel approach to understanding hatred, measuring hatred and bringing awareness to a pressing public health concern which can be prevented.
- Researchers, academics and students can benefit from learning about a new psychometric tool and public health approach being developed which consider the impact of a hatred as a destructive and contagious disease, which has received limited consideration.
- This knowledge may encourage the development of “hatred and health” workshops, courses, and graduate studies and the incorporation of these streams into existing hate studies curricula (which currently focus on legal, political, and social justice considerations of hatred), as well as peace and conflict studies.
- Furthermore, our ability to comprehend the impacts of hatred can lead to the promotion and establishment of healthy, resilient communities and peace at the local and global level. Our goal is to improve the understanding of hatred, raise awareness of it as a disease, and develop better interventions for hate as it relates to public safety and public health concerns.