Zum Hauptinhalt

Social value orientation, subjective effectiveness, perceived cost, and the use of protective measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Fakultät Humanwissenschaften, Lehrstuhl für Persönlichkeitspsychologie und Psychologische Diagnostik

The study investigated the influence of perceived protective value for the public, perceived self-protective value, and perceived cost of the behavior on the adoption of protective behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.

  • Disziplin: Sozial, Psychologie
  • Forschungsmethode: Quantitativ
  • Forschungsdesign: Primärerhebung, Offene Befragung (selbstselektiert)
  • Erhebungsstatus: Erhebung abgeschlossen, Ergebnisse veröffentlicht, Daten zugänglich

Ziel der Studie

Crises are times that challenge people to care for themselves and others. But as known from research in economics and psychology, individuals differ in their willingness to focus on the individual versus the public good. The case of COVID-19 is especially tricky as people can infect others before they experience any symptoms themselves. Furthermore, the infection carries a risk that is much more serious to older people and people with existing medical conditions. Thus, it is often a burden for an individual to adopt preventive measures even when such measures will have positive consequences for the public.
Based on theorizing and empirical research in decision-making, prosocial behavior in general and social risk-taking in particular are linked to personality traits. The scientists investigated whether individual differences in the willingness to use protective measures depend on whether the measures protect primarily the self or the public and whether this difference can be linked to the individual’s social value orientation.


The scientists recruited participants from their local participant database and via posts on university Facebook groups. They collected data from a sample of N = 419 individuals, age = 38.07 (SD = 15.67), women = 71.1% (diverse = 0.5%), students = 34.37% and excluded seven participants who used extreme values (1 or 101) for all responses in at least one category. Participants completed an online survey available from 3/20/2020 until 3/23/2020.

The study measured social value orientation (SVO) with the slider measure and asked participants to rate 17 behaviors with respect to their protective value for themselves and the public. Participants were then asked the extent to which they were currently engaging in these behaviors. As control variables, the scientists assessed Honesty-Humility with the HEXACO-60 and trait anxiety (German version of the BFI-2).


Data available at https://osf.io/8faeb/

Weiterführende Links


Leder, J., Pastukhov, Schütz, A. (in press). Social Value Orientation, Subjective Effectiveness, Perceived Cost, and the Use of Protective Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany.Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology (RRSP). https://doi.org/10.1080/23743603.2020.1828850