Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on people’s lives. Especially at the first stages, adherence to preventive measures was key to decreasing the number of cases, and institutions have been recommending citizens to act in a socially responsible way. Still, during the pandemic people might experience dilemmas on what it means to do so. We employed a mixed-methods approach to investigate similarities and differences in what is perceived as socially responsible among young people in Greece and Italy (Study 1), and to explore the relationships between these different meanings and their antecedents (trust, human values) and consequences (adherence to COVID-19 preventive guidelines) (Study 2). In Study 1 we found that different conceptualizations of social responsibility (SR) are driven by different ideas on what it means to be considerate of others, and these included ways to protect others’ physical and/or mental health; in Italy, acting responsibly mostly assumed a connotation of “respecting the rules”, while Greek participants stressed the importance of the role of “critical thinking”. Coherently, Study 2 provided further evidence that compatibility between what is considered socially responsible and compliance to COVID-19 preventive guidelines is higher in Italy than in Greece; the same pattern was observed for self-reported adherence and trust in institutions. We also found that the meanings of SR are shaped, at least to a certain extent, by human values and level of trust in various societal agents, which may account in part for country differences in behavioral responses to governmental recommendations and measures against spreading of the disease. Our findings raise implications for institutions and scientists on the importance of implementing strategies to effectively foster trust and to frame guidelines in line with the prevalent value systems.


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Irene Giovanetti. Contact:

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