Following Health Measures in the Pandemic: A Matter of Values?

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Three studies (N = 887) tested the hypothesis that value consistency predicts intended coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) health behaviors and overrides other utility-based motivational factors. Accordingly, Study 1 showed that intentions of social distancing were higher if it was perceived as more value-consistent. The higher value consistency, the less self-interest inconsistency, and the perceived efficacy of social distancing mattered for intentions. On the other hand, Study 2 failed to induce value consistency experimentally. However, correlative results show a moderation pattern similar to Study 1 regarding social distancing intentions, policy support, and devaluation of transgressors. In Study 3, higher value consistency of vaccination reduced the experimental effect of prosocial efficacy but not the effect of self-interest efficacy of the vaccine. The findings are discussed regarding theoretical implications for the interplay of values and utility in motivation. In addition, implications for the potentially ambivalent effects of appealing to values to increase compliance are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number731799
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 14.09.2021

    Research areas

  • behavioral intentions, COVID-19, moral behavior, social distancing, values
  • Psychology