Articles Psychology Articles

Will COVID-19-Related Economic Worries Superimpose the Health Worries, Reducing Acceptance of Social Distancing Measures? A Prospective Pre-registered Study

Published time: 02 April 2020

Authors: Tom Rosman, Anita Chasiotis, Martin Kerwer, Holger Steinmetz, Oliver Wedderhoff, Michael Bosnjak

Keywords: social distancing, economic, Covid-19


As of March 2020, social distancing is seen as pivotal in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-COV-2. Many countries, including Germany, recently established a set of strict measures that aim at social distancing, and the population, in general, seems to support these measures. However, the economic impact of these measures will likely be severe. Due to the corona outbreak, the population is thus subjected to two types of threats—a health threat by the virus, and an economic threat caused, to a large extent, by social distancing measures which curb supply and demand. In the present study, we investigate the psychological interplay of both threats on the acceptance of social distancing measures, and argue that with increasing worries about economic damage (which is likely to rise over the next few weeks and months), the now-high acceptance of social distance measures will diminish. In the current preregistration, we propose a set of corresponding hypotheses, which we plan to test using data from the COVID-19 Snapshot MOnitoring (COSMO) instrument, a weekly monitoring survey on “variables that are critical for behaviour change in the population to avoid transmission of COVID-19, including risk perceptions, trust, use of information sources, knowledge as well as barriers and drivers to recommended behaviours” (WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2020, p. 9). While the analyses will primarily focus on the German COSMO survey (COSMO Germany; Betsch et al., in press), additional analyses may be conducted using COSMO data from other countries. Data will be analyzed upon availability of the respective weekly surveys, and regularly updated results will be published as preprints in PsychArchives.

Preregistration COVID-19-Related Worries and Social Distancing



Leave a Comment