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Authors: Welsch, Robin
Wessels, Marlene
Bernhard, Christoph
Thönes, Sven
Castell, Christoph von
Title: Physical distancing and the perception of interpersonal distance in the COVID-19 crisis
Online publication date: 11-Apr-2022
Year of first publication: 2021
Language: english
Abstract: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been mandated to keep enlarged distances from others. We interviewed 136 German subjects over five weeks from the end of March to the end of April 2020 during the first wave of infections about their preferred interpersonal distance (IPD) before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, subjects adapted to distance requirements and preferred a larger IPD. This enlarged IPD was judged to partially persist after the pandemic crisis. People anticipated keeping more IPD to others even if there was no longer any risk of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also sampled two follow-up measurements, one in August, after the first wave of infections had been flattened, and one in October 2020, at the beginning of the second wave. Here, we observed that IPD varied with the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 within Germany. Overall, our data indicated that adaptation to distance requirements might happen asymmetrically. Preferred IPD rapidly adapted in response to distance requirements, but an enlargement of IPD may partially linger after the COVID-19 pandemic-crisis. We discuss our findings in light of proxemic theory and as an indicator for socio-cultural adaptation beyond the course of the pandemic.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Scientific reports
Pages or article number: 11485
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 2045-2322
Publisher DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-90714-5
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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