Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
PS3-2-C: Paralell Session: Socio-psychological responses to Covid-19
Friday, 08/Oct/2021:
11:30am - 12:45pm

Session Chair: Sebastian Seebauer
Location: Room Borsellino - Palazzo del Vermexio
Piazza Duomo 4, Ortigia – Siracusa (Italy)

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Learning from the Corona crisis: Transfer of efficacy beliefs on individual and public action from Covid-19 to the climate crisis

Stephanie Moser1, Sebastian Seebauer2, Sebastian Neubert1,3

1University of Bern, Switzerland; 2JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbh, Austria; 3University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

In spring of 2020 countries released radical measures (so-called ‘lockdowns’) to deal with the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which lead to strong interferences in people’s consumption behaviors and everyday lives. The feasibility and acceptance of such drastic collective measures in relation to other urgent crises, such as the climate crisis, had previously seemed inconceivable. In our work we ask how individual and collective efficacy beliefs in dealing with the Corona pandemic impacts on efficacy beliefs in regard with mitigating climate change. We present comparative results from two surveys: Survey 1 assessed efficacy beliefs in the German-speaking Swiss population (n=1,016), shortly after lock-down measures were relaxed at the end of April 2020. Survey 2 compares changes in efficacy perceptions among Austrian students (n=113) before and after the lock-down. In survey 1, we found that Covid-19 crisis related self- and participatory efficacy beliefs are enhanced by climate-friendly activities during lockdown. Moreover, Covid-19 related efficacy beliefs predict climate-related self- and participatory efficacy beliefs. Climate-related efficacy beliefs on their turn predict optimism that the corona crisis is an opportunity for climate change mitigation, and support of radical climate-supporting measures/policies. Survey 2 showed that Covid-19 related efficacy beliefs are transferred to climate related efficacy beliefs, and that this transfer is impacted by perceived similarity of the two crises. Taken together, our results suggest that experiencing successful individual and collective action in relation to Corona pandemic mitigation could inspire confidence in dealing with climate change.

Promotion of environmental and social sustainability through a digital community platform in the context of the Corona pandemic

Bernadette Susanne Sütterlin, Evelyn Lobsiger, Vicente Carabias

Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

Digitalization offers new opportunities for the transition towards more sustainable and inclusive societies. Digital platforms, for example, provide a supportive and facilitating environment for social interaction and exchange, especially in situations requiring reduced physical proximity such as the Corona pandemic.

In order to promote social exchange and the use of local services and activities, we developed and implemented a digital community platform at district level in collaboration with the City of Winterthur. The platform is aimed at promoting social interaction, place attachment and identity, sharing behavior, a decrease in mobility need, and ultimately satisfaction with life. At the point in time of the launch of the digital platform, in November 2019, and about one year after the implementation, in January 2021, a survey was conducted amongst residents to test for the effect of the platform. After one year, residents using the digital community platform had a higher place attachment and identity, and their leisure activities took more often place on a local level compared to non-subscribers. Furthermore, platform users had intensified their communication with people from the district via digital platforms and engaged in more interactions across generations and cultures. However, sharing behavior did not change. The satisfaction with life in the district decreased for non-subscribers – possibly due to the Corona pandemic – but there was no decline in the level of satisfaction with life for community platform users.

Results suggest that a digital community platform can support social exchange, but this does not always translate into analog life.

Exploring residential preferences before and during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Switzerland

Anna Pagani1, Livia Fritz1, Ralph Hansmann2, Claudia R. Binder1

1Laboratory for Human Environment Relations in Urban Systems (HERUS), Mobiliar Chair in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Living, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; 2Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab), Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

The first COVID-19 lockdown blurred the boundaries between all dimensions of life. Residential environments had to function as schools, offices and homes, often challenging residents’ comfort and wellbeing. In this study, we look into the effects of the first COVID-19 lockdown on housing residential preferences in Switzerland, which have been shown to be linked to health and wellbeing. Based on an online survey of residents (N = 5378) we explore the extent to which the functions they assign to their ideal dwelling (e.g. a status symbol, a shelter) have changed during the pandemic. We relate this change to the respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics, their feelings about the confinement and whether and how their leisure activities were affected by it. Results show that for more than half of the sample at least 1 of the 3 most desired housing functions prior to the pandemic gained or lost importance. Whilst the wish for a place for ‘satisfaction of aspirations’ showed the largest increase, a place fulfilling basic needs (i.e. eating, cooking) lost in importance. With the support of logistic regression models, we identify two profiles of residents whose preferences changed, thereby shedding light on diverse ways of responding to the confinement measures. We argue that an enhanced understanding of the ideal housing functions is critical to design healthy residential environments which enable their inhabitants to cope with future challenges.

Homeworking during COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional examination of predictors of privacy fit and work fatigue

Sarah E Golding1, Clara Weber2, Eleanor Ratcliffe1, Jo Yarker3, Rachel Lewis3, Fehmidah Munir4

1University of Surrey, United Kingdom; 2Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland; 3Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom; 4Loughborough University, United Kingdom

During government-mandated lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many office-based workers rapidly transitioned to home-working, while also managing additional demands (e.g. childcare and inadequate or shared homeworking spaces). Previous research suggests poor work privacy fit (privacy needs not being met) is associated with lower wellbeing, and increased work fatigue. This study explored the impact of home-working under lockdown by assessing relationships between home-workers’ physical and social environments on their privacy fit and levels of work fatigue. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted with home-workers (n = 479) during the first COVID-19 lockdowns in April and May 2020; most participants were in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Aspects of the physical and social environments at home were measured (e.g. noise levels, number of other home-workers in property, childcare responsibilities) along with job-related factors (e.g. job demand, job control). Using multiple regressions and mediation analysis the impact of these factors on home-workers’ privacy fit, work fatigue and their interrelations were examined. Privacy fit was lower for those with childcare responsibilities, those with greater levels of crowding and noise in home-working spaces, those sharing home-working space with other home-workers, and those without a dedicated home office. Work fatigue was greater amongst those with lower privacy fit, greater job demand, and those who felt pandemic-related job changes had been poorly managed by employers. Privacy fit mediated the relationship between childcare responsibilities and work fatigue. Findings can be used to help support those continuing to home-work in challenging circumstances during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis does not affect proenvironmental behavior, environmental attitude, or behavioral costs of ecological behaviors: Results from a panel study

Marketa Braun Kohlová1, Jan Urban1,2

1Environment Center, Charles University; 2Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences


Some recent studies have argued that the COVID-19 crisis might have reduced the frequency of ecological behavior by affecting negatively environmental attitude that people hold or by increasing behavioral costs of ecological behaviors.

Research goals

This study aimed to look at whether COVID-19 crisis affected general and specific ecological behavior and whether such potential change could be explained by a change in the level of environmental attitude or behavioral costs of ecological behaviors.


About 3 weeks before the introduction of a COVID-19 lockdown, we run a panel study on a convenience sample (N = 206), which elicited self-reported engagement in 50 ecological behaviors and an intention to chose environmentally friendly delivery of products bought over the internet in a choice experiment. This study has been repeated on the same participants about six weeks later when the COVID-19 lockdown has been introduced.


We found that different ecological behaviors have been affected differently by the lockdown and there was no statistically credible change in the general tendency of people to engage in ecological behaviors. Exploratory Rasch analysis revealed that neither behavioral costs of ecological behaviors not people’s attitude levels have changed. Even participants reported an increase in behavioral costs of online shopping, their tendency to chose green delivery of products has not changed, neither has changed the effect of environmental attitude on the probability of choosing environmentally friendly delivery of products.


COVID-19 crisis had an ambivalent effect on ecological behaviors and did not affect environmental attitude.

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