The importance of (shared) human values for containing the Covid-19 pandemic

Lukas Wolf, Geoffrey Haddock, Antony S. R. Manstead, Gregory Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (SciVal)


The Covid-19 pandemic poses an exceptional challenge for humanity. Because public behaviour is key to curbing the pandemic at an early stage, it is important for social psychological researchers to use their knowledge to promote behaviours that help manage the crisis. Here, we identify human values as particularly important in driving both behavioural compliance to government guidelines and promoting prosocial behaviours to alleviate the strains arising from a prolonged pandemic. Existing evidence demonstrates the importance of human values, and the extent to which they are shared by fellow citizens, for tackling the Covid-19 crisis. Individuals who attach higher importance to self-transcendence (e.g., responsibility) and conservation (e.g., security) values are likely to be more compliant with Covid-19 behavioural guidelines and to help others who are struggling with the crisis. Further, believing that fellow citizens share one’s values has been found to elicit a sense of connectedness that may
be crucial in promoting collective efforts to contain the pandemic. The abstract nature of values, and cross-cultural agreement on their importance, suggests that they are ideally suited to developing and tailoring effective, global interventions to combat this pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-627
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020


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