Social Distancing during the COVID ‐19 Pandemic: Who Are the Present and Future Noncompliers?

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Social distancing is an effective means of containing the spread of COVID‐19, but only if we all participate. Who are the individuals who are least likely to adhere to social distancing recommendations, presently and in the long term? Such knowledge is important for policy makers looking to sustain the public's buy‐in to social distancing. Using survey data from a sample of U.S. residents (n = 1,449), the authors show that some demographic factors (gender, age, race, political party) help predict intent to adhere to social distancing. Yet demographic factors are relatively poor predictors compared with individual attitudes and media diets. Public officials should make efforts to inform and persuade the public of the importance of social distancing, targeting media such as television and radio, where audiences are less likely to currently engage in social distancing or are less likely to envision themselves sustaining strict social distancing for several weeks or months
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)805-914
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 245416065