Title

Need Support and Regulatory Focus in Responding to COVID-19

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-19-2020

Abstract

© Copyright © 2020 Vaughn, Garvey and Chalachan. Prevention focus is a self-regulatory orientation that serves the need for security, and promotion focus is a self-regulatory orientation that serves the need for growth. From mid-March to early April 2020, did people judge prevention focus to be more useful than promotion focus for responding to COVID-19? Our study tested and showed support for this hypothesis with 401 American and Canadian participants, who we sampled in 100-person waves on the first 4 Thursdays of the pandemic. For this study, we developed a new measure of the judged usefulness of promotion and prevention focus. Additionally, results showed that the judged usefulness of promotion and prevention focus related positively to support of the psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness, respectively, in responding to COVID-19. Exploratory analyses showed that day-to-day differences in autonomy, competence, and relatedness support and in promotion and prevention focus tended to be small, which is notable given the large-scale changes to social distancing, employment, and media coverage of the virus during this time. Our research could be useful for crafting persuasive advocacy and narrative communications that encourage social distancing to protect others about whom people care most.

Publication Name

Frontiers in Psychology

Volume Number

11

DOI

10.3389/fpsyg.2020.589446

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