Cross-cultural investigation from nine countries on the associations of antisocial traits and the WHO's containment measures for the COVID-19 pandemic

Publication Name

Scandinavian Journal of Psychology


Personality traits play a role in prosocial behavior in relation to containment measures intended to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Empirical findings indicated that individuals high in socially aversive traits such as callousness are less compliant with containment measures. This study aimed to add cross-cultural data on the relationship between antisocial traits and adherence to COVID-19 containment measures. The sample consisted of 4,538 adults recruited by convenience in nine countries (Australia, Brazil, England, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States). Statistical analyses indicated two latent profiles from our sample, empathic and antisocial, and six COVID-19 containment-measure-related factors using measures covering antisocial traits (PID-5), empathy (ACME), global personality pathology (LPFS-BF), and COVID-19 behaviors and beliefs. Through MANCOVA, the antisocial profile consistently showed less compliance and concern about the COVID-19 containment measures, even when controlling for demographics and local pandemic covariables. The network analysis indicated a lack of empathy and callousness as crucial traits of the predisposition to non-compliant behavior. In elaborating on prosocial campaigns in community emergencies, our cross-cultural findings would need to consider personality traits that focus on antisociality, anticipating similar associations and potential impacts in future disease outbreaks.

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