Social norms, social identities and the COVID-19 pandemic : theory and recommendations
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Sustained mass behaviour change is needed to tackle the COVID‐19 pandemic, but many of the required changes run contrary to existing social norms (e.g., physical closeness with in‐group members). This paper explains how social norms and social identities are critical to explaining and changing public behaviour. Recommendations are presented for how to harness these social processes to maximise adherence to COVID‐19 public health guidance. Specifically, we recommend that public health messages clearly define who the target group is, are framed as identity‐affirming rather than identity‐contradictory, include complementary injunctive and descriptive social norm information, are delivered by in‐group members and that support is provided to enable the public to perform the requested behaviours.
Neville , F G , Templeton , A , Smith , J & Louis , W 2021 , ' Social norms, social identities and the COVID-19 pandemic : theory and recommendations ' , Social and Personality Psychology Compass , vol. 15 , no. 5 , e12596 . https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12596
Social and Personality Psychology Compass
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Social and Personality Psychology Compass published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionFunding information: Economic and Social Research Council grant awarded to FGN: ES/V005383/1.
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