ZPID Research on COVID-19-related Social Distancing Measures

A team of six ZPID researchers suspect that COVID-19-related economic worries will superimpose the health worries in the near future, which may reduce acceptance of social distancing measures. Data from the German COSMO survey is used to investigate their claims in a prospective study.

Social distancing is seen as pivotal in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-COV-2. From March 2020 onwards, many countries, including Germany, 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 are severe.

"In the present study, we investigate the psychological interplay of virus-related and economic threats on the acceptance of social distancing measures, and argue that with increasing worries about economic damage the acceptance of social distance measures diminishes", says Dr. Tom Rosman, head of of the research literacy unit at ZPID and project manager of the aforementioned research project. 

The researchers will use current and future data from the COVID-19 Snapshot MOnitoring (COSMO Germany) project, in which ZPID is a project partner. COSMO is a weekly monitoring survey on knowledge, risk perceptions, preventive behaviours, and public trust in the current coronavirus outbreak in Germany. 

The study protocol has been preregistered on April 2, 2020, and is accessible through ZPID’s open access repository PsychArchives.