University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
This paper aims to seek if self-affirming activities can be used to increase compliance with group-protective public health policy such as the mandate to wear face masks for the COVID-19 pandemic. Completing a self-affirmation has been shown to increase compliance to health advice when it is beneficial for the self (Sherman & Cohen, 2020). To determine if self-affirming activities, as described by Self-Affirmation theory, increases compliance to health advice that is beneficial for others, the present experiment (N = 106) asked university students to complete a self-affirmation or a control task, read a relevant article, and rate how often they would wear a mask in a variety of situations in a survey. Participants also rated their peers to test if the self-affirmation would mitigate the difference between how people rate themselves and their peers. This study showed that the self-affirmation caused people to rate themselves and their peers’ mask-wearing intentions higher in all situations except in their own homes where there was no change in rating between the two groups, p = .008. The self-affirmation manipulation had no interaction effect with the target of rating (self vs. peer) and so did not change how people rated themselves compared to others, p = .60. These results suggest that Self-Affirmation theory can be used to promote group-protective health advice and could potentially make public health campaigns more effective in the future.
"The Effects of Self-Affirmation on COVID-19 Safe Behaviors,"
Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 28:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol28/iss2/3