Predicting Behavioral Intentions to Prevent or Mitigate COVID-19: A Cross-Cultural Meta-Analysis of Attitudes, Norms, and Perceived Behavioral Control Effects


We examined the effectiveness of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control (PBC) of the theory of planned behavior on COVID-19 relevant behavioral intentions and behaviors. We conducted a meta-analysis of 335 effect sizes from 83 samples across 31 countries (N = 68,592). We found strongest effects for PBC, but contrary to previous research also moderately strong effects of subjective norms. Focusing on systematic context effects: (a) norm?behavior associations at individual level were strengthened if population norms were stronger; (b) collectivism strengthened norm effects in line with cultural theories, but also attitude and PBC associations, suggesting that COVID-relevant behaviors show collective action properties; © in line with cultural theory, tightness?looseness strengthened normative effects on behaviors; and (d) contrary to post-modernization theory, national wealth weakened attitude and PBC associations. These analyses provide new theoretical and practical insights into behavioral dynamics during an acute public health crisis.

Social Psychological and Personality Science