Psychology Professor Leigh Ann Vaughn and students Chase Garvey and Rachael Chalachan publish research on responding to COVID-19


Contributed by Leigh Ann Vaughn

Leigh Ann Vaughn, Chase Garvey (Psychology BA, 2021), and Rachael Chalachan (Psychology BA, 2021) have published "Need support and regulatory focus in responding to COVID-19" in Frontiers in Psychology.



What is it about?

People focused more on security than on growth in their responses to COVID-19 across the first four Thursdays of the pandemic. Additionally, people who felt closer and more connected to others were more enthusiastically security-focused in responding to the virus. People who felt more able to do what they really wanted focused more on growth in responding to the virus. Day-to-day differences in psychological need support in responding to COVID-19 did not differ much across the days of the study. These needs were for feeling close and connected to others, being able to do what they wanted, and feeling competent. This consistency is notable given the large-scale changes to social distancing, employment, and media coverage of the virus during this time. Our study sampled 401 American and Canadian adults in 100-person waves on March 12, March 19, March 26, and April 2, 2020.


Why is it important?

This research is the first to find evidence of enthusiastic focus on security in responding to COVID-19. This focus went along with feeling close and connected to others. Our research could be useful for crafting persuasive advocacy and narrative communications that encourage social distancing to protect others about whom people care most.