Accelerating Changes in Norms about Social Distancing to Combat COVID-19
Social distancing is one of the most important means to limit the spread of COVID-19. While public health messaging seeks to rapidly change norms to make social distancing more acceptable, norms do not shift instantaneously. Moreover, individuals are likely to have poor information on whether, and the extent to which, norms have changed in their community. In partnership with the Beira Operational Research Center - a research unit of the National Institute of Health - this randomized evaluation will provide rapid insights to policymakers using telephone surveys and allow them to quickly scale effective public health messaging campaigns. Specifically, the study will quickly test three ways to increase the practice of social distancing in line with government policies in order to complement existing public health messaging efforts, including: informing people of the true (high) rate of supportive attitudes towards social distancing in their communities, informing people that prominent individuals in the community support social distancing, educating people about the public health benefits of social distancing. The researchers plan to rapidly share results with the government to inform their approach to delivering public health messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the most recent summary reports, please visit the official project webpage.