Skip to main content

moral panic

moral panic The process of arousing social concern over an issue—usually the work of moral entrepreneurs (see MORAL ENTERPRISE) and the mass media. The concept was used most forcefully by Stanley Cohen in Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1971), with reference to the concern over the teenage styles of Mods and Rockers in England in the mid-1960s, but it has since been applied in the analysis of the societal reaction to many other social problems, including football hooliganism, child abuse, AIDS, and numerous adolescent subcultural activities. See also LABELLING.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"moral panic." A Dictionary of Sociology. . 15 Aug. 2019 <>.

"moral panic." A Dictionary of Sociology. . (August 15, 2019).

"moral panic." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved August 15, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.