People Hide They are Sick, Why? With Dr. Wilson Merrell

People Hide They are Sick

People hide they are sick, but why do they do it?

In a recent episode of Causes or Cures, I chatted with Dr. Wilson Merrell about his recently published research on the percentage of people who hide they are sick with an infectious disease. In the podcast, he discusses who hides the fact that they are sick, when they do it, why they do it and how they do it. He explains their motives, things the researchers found surprising and the wider implications of his research.

I read the study and reached out to Dr. Merrell to come on Causes or Cures, because I thought this was a super intriguing topic, particularly in the aftermath of the worst of COVID. However, Dr. Merrell’s study didn’t deal with COVID…it dealt with other infectious agents, such as the flu or the common cold. Mostly, it is a super interesting study on human nature. As I said in the podcast, “humans are weird!” The reasons we do things are weird!

Have you ever hid the fact that you were sick? If anything, I admittedly have done the opposite…told people I was sick and needed to stay at home in bed to avoid a social outing. I wonder what is more common: people hiding they are sick or people pretending to be sick to avoid doing something they don’t want to do? Ah, humans.

Dr. Merrell is a researcher who completed his PhD in social psychology at the University of Michigan. He is currently doing postdoc research at the Center for the Experimental-Philosophical Study of Discrimination at Aarhus University.  His research focus is on psychological processes that help people manage fundamental threats and opportunities in their environment.

Please listen to the episode “People Hide they are Sick, Why?” here! 

If you haven’t yet, please check out some of the other recent podcasts, such as this one on a new syndrome in babies linked to fentanyl exposure.

You can also listen to this podcast on Youtube now, here:

The People Who Hide Their Infectious Diseases and Why They Do It, with Dr. Wilson Merrell (

And if you get a chance to share the podcast, leave a review or rating, please do! I’m trying to collect more, so if you like the podcast, I’d really appreciate it! Thanks so much- Eeks


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