COVID-19 and Extremeness Aversion: The Role of Safety Seeking in Travel Decision Making

Jungkeun Kim, Jooyoung Park, Jaeseok Lee, Seongseop Kim, Hector Gonzalez-Jimenez, Jaehoon Lee, Yung Kyun Choi, Jacob C. Lee, Seongsoo Jang, Drew Franklin, Mark T. Spence, Roger Marshall

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Combining conceptual perspectives from emerging research on COVID-19, safety-seeking motivations, and extremeness aversion in choice (i.e., compromise effects), we examine how and why the perceived threat of COVID-19 affects consumers’ choice and decision making in the hotel and restaurant domains. Across seven studies (two studies from secondary data sets and five experimental studies), we provide novel evidence that the perceived threat or threat salience of COVID-19 amplifies the general tendency to select compromise options, avoiding extreme ones, within a choice set. We highlight the role of safety-seeking motivations as the underlying mechanism in the relationship between perceived threat and extremeness aversion in choice. We further document a boundary condition that the extremeness aversion effect is stronger for leisure travelers than for business travelers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-854
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • compromise effect
  • COVID-19
  • extremeness aversion
  • leisure versus business travel
  • safety seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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