Individual differences in social distancing and mask-wearing in the pandemic of COVID-19: The role of need for cognition, self-control and risk attitude
COVID-19, Mask-wearing, Need for cognition, Political ideology, Risk attitude, Self-control, Social distancing
Personality and Individual Differences
In the United States, while the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the practice of social distancing and mask-wearing have been controversial and even politicized. The present study examined the role of psychological traits in social distancing compliance and mask-wearing behavior and attitude. A sample of 233 U.S. adult residents were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants completed scales of social distancing compliance, mask-wearing behavior and attitude, need for cognition, self-control, risk attitude, and political ideology. Epidemiological information (seven-day positive rate and the number of cases per 100,000) was obtained based on the state participants resided in. As a result, epidemiological information did not correlate with social distancing compliance mask-wearing. Political ideology, on the other hand, was a significant factor, with a more liberal tendency being associated with greater engagement in social distancing compliance and mask-wearing behavior an attitude. Importantly, those who were more risk averse, or had a higher level of self-control or need for cognition practiced more social distancing and mask-wearing, after controlling for demographics, epidemiological information, and political ideology. Furthermore, for mask-wearing behavior, political ideology interacted with both need for cognition and self-control. Collectively, the study revealed the psychological roots of individual differences in social distancing and mask-wearing compliance.
Department of Psychology
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Xu, Ping and Cheng, Jiuqing, "Individual differences in social distancing and mask-wearing in the pandemic of COVID-19: The role of need for cognition, self-control and risk attitude" (2021). Faculty Publications. 66.