Changes in social norms during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic across 43 countries.

Andrighetto G, Szekely A, Guido A, Gelfand M, Abernathy J, Arikan G, Aycan Z, Bankar S, Barrera D, Basnight-Brown D, Belaus A, Berezina E, Blumen S, Boski P, Bui HTT, Cárdenas JC, Čekrlija Đ, de Barra M, de Zoysa P, Dorrough A, Engelmann JB, Euh H, Fiedler S, Foster-Gimbel O, Freitas G, Fülöp M, Gardarsdottir RB, Gill CMHD, Glöckner A, Graf S, Grigoryan A, Growiec K, Hashimoto H, Hopthrow T, Hřebíčková M, Imada H, Kamijo Y, Kapoor H, Kashima Y, Khachatryan N, Kharchenko N, León D, Leslie LM, Li Y, Liik K, Liuzza MT, Maitner AT, Mamidi P, McArdle M, Medhioub I, Teixeira MLM, Mentser S, Morales F, Narayanan J, Nitta K, Nussinson R, Onyedire NG, Onyishi IE, Osin E, Özden S, Panagiotopoulou P, Pereverziev O, Perez-Floriano LR, Pirttilä-Backman A, Pogosyan M, Raver J, Reyna C, Rodrigues RB, Romanò S, Romero PP, Sakki I, Sánchez A, Sherbaji S, Simpson B, Spadoni L, Stamkou E, Travaglino GA, Van Lange PAM, Winata FF, Zein RA, Zhang Q, Eriksson K

Nat Commun 15 (1) 1436 [2024-02-16; online 2024-02-16]

The emergence of COVID-19 dramatically changed social behavior across societies and contexts. Here we study whether social norms also changed. Specifically, we study this question for cultural tightness (the degree to which societies generally have strong norms), specific social norms (e.g. stealing, hand washing), and norms about enforcement, using survey data from 30,431 respondents in 43 countries recorded before and in the early stages following the emergence of COVID-19. Using variation in disease intensity, we shed light on the mechanisms predicting changes in social norm measures. We find evidence that, after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand washing norms increased while tightness and punishing frequency slightly decreased but observe no evidence for a robust change in most other norms. Thus, at least in the short term, our findings suggest that cultures are largely stable to pandemic threats except in those norms, hand washing in this case, that are perceived to be directly relevant to dealing with the collective threat.

Category: Social Science & Humanities

Funder: KAW/SciLifeLab

Funder: VR

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38365869

DOI 10.1038/s41467-024-44999-5

Crossref 10.1038/s41467-024-44999-5

pmc: PMC10873354
pii: 10.1038/s41467-024-44999-5

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