Social distancing is a widely recommended policy for limiting the COVID-19 pandemic. An internet-based survey was used to investigate the role of several psychological variables in predicting social distancing compliance in Italy. Data from 373 participants, between March and August 2021, revealed that complying with social distancing and prioritizing the benefits to society over personal costs correlated positively with emotional intelligence, extroversion, and higher risk perception of COVID-19, and negatively with age. No relationship was found between working memory capacity and social distancing compliance. The mediation analysis suggests that as the costs of social distancing are perceived to be greater than the benefits, the effect of anxiety on social distancing diminishes. Further studies are needed to better understand the characteristics of individuals who choose to practice social distancing, as this is critical for developing public service campaigns to promote these behaviors during possible future pandemics.
The psychological and cognitive predictors of adherence to social distancing behavior: data from an Italian sample / Santirocchi, Alessandro; Esposito, Antonino; Spataro, Pietro; Cestari, Vincenzo; Clelia, Rossi-Arnaud. - (2022). (Intervento presentato al convegno Psychonomic Society 63rd Annual Meeting tenutosi a Boston (online)).