Reduced social distancing early in the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with antisocial behaviors in an online United States sample

Katherine O'Connell, Kathryn Berluti, Shawn A. Rhoads, Abigail A. Marsh, Edelyn Verona
2021 PLoS ONE  
Antisocial behaviors cause harm, directly or indirectly, to others' welfare. The novel coronavirus pandemic has increased the urgency of understanding a specific form of antisociality: behaviors that increase risk of disease transmission. Because disease transmission-linked behaviors tend to be interpreted and responded to differently than other antisocial behaviors, it is unclear whether general indices of antisociality predict contamination-relevant behaviors. In a pre-registered study using
more » ... stered study using an online U.S. sample, we found that individuals reporting high levels of antisociality engage in fewer social distancing measures: they report leaving their homes more frequently (p = .024) and standing closer to others while outside (p < .001). These relationships were observed after controlling for sociodemographic variables, illness risk, and use of protective equipment. Independently, higher education and leaving home for work were also associated with reduced distancing behavior. Antisociality was not significantly associated with level of worry about the coronavirus. These findings suggest that more antisocial individuals may pose health risks to themselves and their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0244974 pmid:33412567 fatcat:ibfob7qeinfzvbrmerdd32iuau