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The Behavior of Social Distancing: New study seeks participants to evaluate behavioral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Six feet apart. It’s the safe distance metric response for to the COVID-19 pandemic heard for weeks as states across the United States put their citizens in a holding pattern with stay at home orders shuttering non-essential businesses, closing public gathering places and limiting restaurants to carry out or delivery only.

The transition to the “new normal” reality has been jarring, and nurse researchers are attempting to study the impact the public health interventions, like social distancing, have on human behavior.

Seeking the participation of 5,000 adults from the United States, the study is a collaboration between Indiana University School of Nursing’s Assistant Professor Kelly Wierenga and Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing’s Assistant Professor Scott Emory Moore. Wierenga is a former Case Western Reserve postdoctoral fellow.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health interventions intended to ‘flatten the curve’ (e.g. social distancing) have had massive impacts on the economy and the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Moore said. “However, not all Americans are experiencing this pandemic in the same way—or at the same time—because of the differing rates of infection, hotspot eruptions across the country, and how those factors influence local and state regulations and recommendations.”

Using social media and web-based strategies, Moore and Wierenga are currently recruiting adults from across the country to participate in the appropriately distanced online survey, which focuses on understanding how the perceptions and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic influence self-management behaviors and symptoms.

The cross-sectional online survey is phase one of a multi-phase study, the results of which we expect to be valuable to directly informing care and practice for future pandemics, Moore said.

Study participation criteria:

  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Live in the United States
  • Can read and understand English

All data collection will be completed online using a secure, web-based data capture platform called REDCap. The survey link is: https://redcap.uits.iu.edu/surveys/?s=P9HXKMXTWE