The present study examines the psychological impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) by exploring the coping strategies and health behaviors enacted in response to the SARS epidemic. Hierarchical linear regression indicated that the use of wishful thinking in response to the threat of SARS was related to both avoiding public places and avoiding people perceived to be possible carriers of the SARS virus, but was not associated with the use of more adaptive health behaviors, such as using disinfectants and hand washing. Conversely, those who reported engaging in empathic responding in response to the threat of SARS were both less likely to report avoiding people perceived as being at a high risk for SARS and more likely to report engaging in effective health behaviors. Support seeking was not a significant predictor of the health behaviors examined in the present study. Results are discussed in terms of coping with health threats and health promotion.