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Exploring the relationships between rule-governed behavior and adherence to guidelines aiming to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Pages 73-77)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 25, July 2022, Pages 73-77


Alison Stapleton, Conor McCloskey, Louise McHugh


Research demonstrates that socially mediated consequences impact adherence to health mandates during pandemics. However, no published research has examined whether adherence varies based on the extent to which an individual relies on arbitrary social approval (i.e., displays generalized pliance). The present study explored the relationships between adherence to COVID-19 public health measures, two types of rule-following (pliance and tracking), and perceived peer behavior in a sample of adults (n = 288). Findings revealed that adherence was negatively correlated with generalized pliance and tracking was unrelated to adherence. Pliance did not moderate the relationship between peer adherence and individual adherence. Findings are discussed with reference to the need to develop easily adaptable and context sensitive measures of types of rule-following, in addition to a measure of social tracking.

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