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Fear of this made people more likely to follow COVID-19 lockdown rules

Researchers found that people who do not usually worry about disease stuck more rigidly to the rules if they worried about this.

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By Gwyn Wright via SWNS

Fears of being shunned by friends and family made people more likely to follow COVID-19 rules during lockdowns, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who do not usually worry about disease stuck more rigidly to the rules if they worried about being rejected by others.

People who believed they could quickly fight off the bug made stronger efforts to protect themselves and others if they felt “social pain” - a feeling of being personally hurt or rejected by friends, according to the findings of the study conducted in the UK and USA.

In turn, people are more likely to spread the illness if they were happy with their relationships and friendships.

For the study, researchers analyzed the diaries of 2,794 Brits and Americans.

They reported how they felt hurt or rejected by those they knew, how personally concerned they were about the spread of coronavirus and how vigilantly they took precautions to protect themselves from it.

Earlier research had found people may be more likely to take safety precautions when they are worried about their connection to others but that might not always be the case.

A woman with a child in medical masks is sitting at home in quarantine and looking out the window. Prevention of coronavirus and Covid -19 during a global pandemic
(Maples Images via Shutterstock)

Lead study author Dr. Sandra Murray, of the University at Buffalo (CORR), said: “Concerns about the social connection and concerns about disease can reinforce one another.

“When you’re really concerned about social connection, it can make you take the disease threat that others pose to you more seriously.

“When social interactions are more painful, it is a warning that motivates people who don’t normally worry about diseases to take greater steps to protect themselves against COVID-19.

“The current research is only one piece of the puzzle, but it does suggest that it’s important to understand how people’s behavior is influenced by the non-physical threats that others pose to them.”

The authors now want to examine how people’s daily experiences with social pain can affect other types of health behaviors.

The findings were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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