Family still matters: human social motivation across 42 countries during a global pandemic

Pick, Cari M, Ko, Ahra, Wormley, Alexandra S, Wiezel, Adi, Kenrick, Douglas T, Al-Shawaf, Laith, Barry, Oumar, Bereby-Meyer, Yoella, Boonyasiriwat, Watcharaporn, Brandstätter, Eduard, Crispim, Ana Carla, Cruz, Julio Eduardo, David, Daniel, David, Oana A, Uskul, Ayse K and others, (2022) Family still matters: human social motivation across 42 countries during a global pandemic. Evolution and Human Behavior. pp. 1-9. ISSN 1090-5138

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only until 6 October 2023.

Download (1MB)


The COVID-19 pandemic caused drastic social changes for many people, including separation from friends and coworkers, enforced close contact with family, and reductions in mobility. Here we assess the extent to which people's evolutionarily-relevant basic motivations and goals—fundamental social motives such as Affiliation and Kin Care—might have been affected. To address this question, we gathered data on fundamental social motives in 42 countries (N = 15,915) across two waves, including 19 countries (N = 10,907) for which data were gathered both before and during the pandemic (pre-pandemic wave: 32 countries, N = 8998; 3302 male, 5585 female; Mage = 24.43, SD = 7.91; mid-pandemic wave: 29 countries, N = 6917; 2249 male, 4218 female; Mage = 28.59, SD = 11.31). Samples include data collected online (e.g., Prolific, MTurk), at universities, and via community sampling. We found that Disease Avoidance motivation was substantially higher during the pandemic, and that most of the other fundamental social motives showed small, yet significant, differences across waves. Most sensibly, concern with caring for one's children was higher during the pandemic, and concerns with Mate Seeking and Status were lower. Earlier findings showing the prioritization of family motives over mating motives (and even over Disease Avoidance motives) were replicated during the pandemic. Finally, well-being remained positively associated with family-related motives and negatively associated with mating motives during the pandemic, as in the pre-pandemic samples. Our results provide further evidence for the robust primacy of family-related motivations even during this unique disruption of social life.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: COVID-19, Family, Fundamental social motives, Cross-cultural research, Life satisfaction
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2022 12:44
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 09:51

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update