National Preferred Interpersonal Distance Curbs the Spread of COVID-19: A Cross-country Analysis

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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2020 Aug 12:1-15. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2020.295. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: National Interpersonal distance preference is considered a cultural characteristic. Interpersonal distance is critical for the spread dynamics of COVID-19. COVID-19’s spread trend shows various characteristics in different countries. We think that one of the factors influencing this variation could be national interpersonal distance preference.

METHODS: We employed regression analysis based on data of national interpersonal distance preferences (social, personal, and intimate) presented by Sorokowska et al. (2017) and COVID-19 growth rate data for 40 different countries which are calculated using OWD’s (2020) data.

RESULTS: National interpersonal distance preferences with its three dimensions significantly decrease the growth rate of COVID-19 in countries.

CONCLUSION: Understanding the relation between national interpersonal distance preference and contagion growth of COVID-19 might be very useful information to be utilized in decision-making processes of individuals, societies and governments to develop culturally well-suited counter-pandemic politics, strategies, and procedures during COVID-19 pandemic or any upcoming epidemic or pandemic threats in the future, instead of standard fit-to-all strategies.

PMID:32782051 | DOI:10.1017/dmp.2020.295