Preprints are early versions of research articles that have not been peer reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive and should not be reported in news media as established information.
Relational mobility predicts a faster spread of COVID-19: A 39 country study
preprintposted on 25.08.2020, 20:20 by Cristina SalvadorCristina Salvador, Martha K. Berg, Qinggang Yu, Alvaro San Martin, Shinobu Kitayama
It has become increasingly clear that COVID-19 transmits between individuals. It stands to reason that the spread of the virus depends on sociocultural ecologies that facilitate or inhibit social contact. In particular, the community-level tendency to engage with strangers and freely choose friends, called relational mobility (RM), entails increased opportunities to interact with a larger and more variable range of others. It may therefore be associated with a faster spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Here, we tested this possibility by analyzing growth curves of confirmed cases and deaths of COVID-19 in the first 30 days of the outbreaks in 39 countries. We found the growth was significantly accelerated as a function of a country-wise measure of RM. This relationship was robust either with or without a set of control variables, including demographic variables, reporting bias, testing availability, and cultural dimensions of individualism and government efficiency. Policy implications are discussed.
Accepted for COVID-19 fast-track publication in Psychological Science
Declaration of conflicts of interestNone
Corresponding author email@example.com
Lead author countryUnited States
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in Psychological Science