Following the crowd in times of crisis: Descriptive norms predict physical distancing, stockpiling, and prosocial behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rudert, Selma Carolin ; Janke, Stefan

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-610851
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: Group Processes & Intergroup Relations : GPIR
Volume: tba
Issue number: tba
Page range: 1-17
Place of publication: London
Publishing house: Sage
ISSN: 1368-4302 , 1461-7188
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Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Pädagogische Psychologie (Dickhäuser)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Keywords (English): compliance , COVID-19 , descriptive norms , physical distancing , prosocial behavior , social influence , social norms , stockpiling
Abstract: Individuals engage in a variety of behavioral responses to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, from complying with or transgressing against physical distancing regulations, to stockpiling or prosocial behavior. We predicted that particularly descriptive social norms are important in driving pandemic-related behavior as they offer guidelines in times of insecurity and crisis. To investigate this assumption, we conducted a longitudinal survey with two measurement points ( n = 1,907) in Germany during the spring of 2020. Results show that descriptive norms (perceived behavior of close others) positively predicted future transgression against distancing regulations, stockpiling, and prosocial behavior over time. In our analysis, we account for previous behavior as well as other potential predictors (subjective threat, personality). In sum, our findings highlight the power of descriptive norms in increasing compliance with pandemic-related regulations and promoting future prosocial behavior.
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BASE: Rudert, Selma Carolin ; Janke, Stefan

Google Scholar: Rudert, Selma Carolin ; Janke, Stefan

ORCID: Rudert, Selma Carolin ; Janke, Stefan ORCID: 0000-0003-1799-8850

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