This study supports the use of prosocial framing to persuade individuals to engage in behaviors to slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission.
Many messages exist to try to convince people to engage in preventive behaviors, such as social distancing and handwashing, to slow the transmission of COVID-19. This study assessed the framing of messages to determine if self-interest, prosocial, or a combination of both messages are more effective in gaining compliance. All messages increased intentions to engage in the desired behaviors compared to receiving no information; however, the pro-social message alone had the largest effect. Prosocial motives are a major driver of intentions to prevent infection suggesting that policymakers must tap into the morality of helping others instead of encouraging behaviors that focus on individual benefit, which may appear selfish