What is it about?

COVID-19 represented (and unfortunately continues to represent) a unique challenge to society, which calls for a sustainable and long-term assessment of health challenges to prepare for future global disasters. The article presents a theoretical framework that connects national culture and contextual factors with social contact avoidance. A research model is described that uses longitudinal mobility change data. The study has implications for cross-cultural psychology, public health policy, and international business.

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Why is it important?

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted the world, causing millions of infections and deaths, and unprecedented changes in people's lives. To combat the spread of the virus, social distancing measures have been implemented globally. However, adherence to social distancing varies across cultures and countries. Understanding the cultural factors that affect social distancing can have important implications for public health policies and international business. This is where the significance of studying social distancing and the influence of culture during the pandemic lies. The pandemic has shown that the threat of infectious diseases is a grand challenge to humanity. By examining how cultural and contextual factors influence social contact avoidance during the pandemic, we can gain insight into the management of infectious diseases and future health challenges. This can help shape public health policies and better prepare governments and societies to face such crises. Moreover, the pandemic has brought to light the need for a sustainable and long-term assessment of health challenges. By studying the factors that affect social distancing across cultures, we can identify the best practices for social distancing and adapt them to different cultural contexts. This can help businesses and governments prepare for future global disasters and crises, ultimately contributing to a more resilient and prepared world. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges that require us to examine the influence of culture on social distancing. Through such research, we can gain a better understanding of the factors that affect social distancing and use this knowledge to develop effective public health policies and prepare for future crises. The importance of this study extends beyond the current pandemic, as it can help us develop a more robust and sustainable approach to health management and disaster preparedness.


This study is important for managing public health emergencies as it sheds light on the cultural and contextual factors that may amplify social contact avoidance and contribute to government response policies in different environments.

Wolfgang Messner
University of South Carolina

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The association of cultural and contextual factors with social contact avoidance during the COVID-19 pandemic, PLoS ONE, December 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261858.
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