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 editorsHagger, Martin S; Smith, Stephanie R; Keech, Jacob J; Moyers, Susette A; Hamilton, Kyra

Journal or seriesAnnals of Behavioral Medicine



Publication year2020

Publication date11/09/2020


Issue number10

Pages range713-727

PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot 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.

Keywordssocial cognitionhealth behaviourhabitsbehavioural psychologydistancenormspandemicscommunicable diseasesCOVID-19

Free keywordssocial cognition theory; health behavior; dual-phase models; dual-process models; habit; action planning

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 13:12