A1 Journal article (refereed)
Predicting Social Distancing Intention and Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic : An Integrated Social Cognition Model (2020)

Hagger, M. S., Smith, S. R., Keech, J. J., Moyers, S. A., & Hamilton, K. (2020). Predicting Social Distancing Intention and Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic : An Integrated Social Cognition Model. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 54(10), 713-727. https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaaa073

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Hagger, Martin S; Smith, Stephanie R; Keech, Jacob J; Moyers, Susette A; Hamilton, Kyra

Journal or series: Annals of Behavioral Medicine

ISSN: 0883-6612

eISSN: 1532-4796

Publication year: 2020

Publication date: 11/09/2020

Volume: 54

Issue number: 10

Pages range: 713-727

Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaaa073

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73718


Social distancing is a key behavior to minimize COVID-19 infections. Identification of potentially modifiable determinants of social distancing behavior may provide essential evidence to inform social distancing behavioral interventions.

The current study applied an integrated social cognition model to identify the determinants of social distancing behavior, and the processes involved, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a prospective correlational survey study, samples of Australian (N = 365) and U.S. (N = 440) residents completed online self-report measures of social cognition constructs (attitude, subjective norm, moral norm, anticipated regret, and perceived behavioral control [PBC]), intention, action planning, habit, and past behavior with respect to social distancing behavior at an initial occasion. Follow-up measures of habit and social distancing behavior were taken 1 week later.

Structural equation models indicated that subjective norm, moral norm, and PBC were consistent predictors of intention in both samples. Intention, action planning, and habit at follow-up were consistent predictors of social distancing behavior in both samples. Action planning did not have consistent effects mediating or moderating the intention–behavior relationship. Inclusion of past behavior in the model attenuated effects among constructs, although the effects of the determinants of intention and behavior remained.

Current findings highlight the importance of subjective norm, moral obligation, and PBC as determinants of social distancing intention and intention and habit as behavioral determinants. Future research on long-range predictors of social distancing behavior and reciprocal effects in the integrated model is warranted.

Keywords: social cognition; health behaviour; habits; behavioural psychology; distance; norms; pandemics; communicable diseases; COVID-19

Free keywords: social cognition theory; health behavior; dual-phase models; dual-process models; habit; action planning

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 11:40