Review: Belief in science influences physical distancing in response to COVID-19 lockdown policies

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Review: Belief in science influences physical distancing in response to COVID-19 lockdown policies

Review: Belief in science influences physical distancing in response to COVID-19 lockdown policies

This research study determined that compliance with social distancing is associated with individuals’ belief in climate change and suggests that messaging about COVID-19 risk must consider attitudes towards science to be more effective.

Beliefs about human causes of climate change significantly affected social distancing patterns after shelter-in-place policies were enacted. Using cell phone data, researchers were able to determine greater rates of non-compliance with social distancing recommendations in counties with a higher proportion of climate change skeptics. When scientific skepticism was high, similar patterns of social distancing non-compliance was evident regardless of political party leanings. Adapting science communication to account for specific audience’s bias and countering disinformation will help reduce the chances that preventive messages will be rejected.

|2020-05-18T08:47:05-04:00May 18th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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