COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing in the United States: A mixed-methods study on lived experiences and well-being


J. M. Vaterlaus, Lori A. Spruance, Emily V. Patten


The Social Science Journal


The current mixed-methods study was designed to explore individuals’ experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and potential relationships between social distancing and individual well-being. Participants (N = 600) completed an online survey that was distributed March 21–31, 2020. Through multivariable modeling, three main effects (concern for COVID-19, risk for COVID-19, and gender) were together significantly associated with the social distancing outcome. Three themes emerged through phenomenological qualitative analysis: 1) sense of control and contribution during COVID-19, 2) Living with the uncertainty of COVID-19, and 3) personal finances and economy: present and future. Few participants perceived high personal risk related to COVID-19 but were engaging in some level of social distancing to protect others. During contagious public health crises, community mindedness may be a more salient motivator for promoting social distancing.



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