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Social Distancing Intention during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Theory of Planned Behavior in Thai Cultural Contex


Affiliations
1 Graduate School of Human Sciences, Programs in Counselling Psychology, Assumption University of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
     

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The Covid-19 pandemic forced people across the nations to change their social life. Social distancing is the single most effective measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The characteristics of the society in which it is practiced can have a differential impact on the intention to perform social distancing. Drawing on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and the characteristics of Thai culture, this study attempted to investigate the effect of subjective norm on social distancing intention, being mediated by the attitude towards social distancing and perceived behavioral control among Thai university students, while controlling for the perceived barriers and perceived external control. The sample consisted of university students from 5 universities in Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 176 university students, 87females and 86 males participated in the study. The variables were measured by questionnaires constructed based on the TPB research framework and were found to be reliable indicated by the Cronbach's Alpha that ranged from .83 to .88. The results of the path analysis supported the proposed extended TPB framework. Attitude towards social distancing was found to mediate the relationship between subjective norm and social distancing intention, while perceived behavioral control did not mediate the relationship. A culturally-informed comprehensive framework of TPB was found to be useful in predicting social distancing intention. The results are discussed in connection with the TPB and cultural aspects.

Keywords

Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Distancing Intention, COVID-19, Collectivist Culture, Thailand.
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  • Social Distancing Intention during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Theory of Planned Behavior in Thai Cultural Contex

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Authors

Rajitha Menon Arikkatt
Graduate School of Human Sciences, Programs in Counselling Psychology, Assumption University of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
Santhosh Ayathupady Mohanan
Graduate School of Human Sciences, Programs in Counselling Psychology, Assumption University of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand

Abstract


The Covid-19 pandemic forced people across the nations to change their social life. Social distancing is the single most effective measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The characteristics of the society in which it is practiced can have a differential impact on the intention to perform social distancing. Drawing on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and the characteristics of Thai culture, this study attempted to investigate the effect of subjective norm on social distancing intention, being mediated by the attitude towards social distancing and perceived behavioral control among Thai university students, while controlling for the perceived barriers and perceived external control. The sample consisted of university students from 5 universities in Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 176 university students, 87females and 86 males participated in the study. The variables were measured by questionnaires constructed based on the TPB research framework and were found to be reliable indicated by the Cronbach's Alpha that ranged from .83 to .88. The results of the path analysis supported the proposed extended TPB framework. Attitude towards social distancing was found to mediate the relationship between subjective norm and social distancing intention, while perceived behavioral control did not mediate the relationship. A culturally-informed comprehensive framework of TPB was found to be useful in predicting social distancing intention. The results are discussed in connection with the TPB and cultural aspects.

Keywords


Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Distancing Intention, COVID-19, Collectivist Culture, Thailand.