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Abstract While pandemic containment measures benefit public health, they may jeopardize the social structure of society. We hypothesize that lockdowns and prolonged social distancing measures hinder social support and invite norm violations, eroding social trust. We conducted a pre-registered pre-post study on a representative sample of the Dutch population (n = 2377; participation rate = 88.8%), measuring social trust reported by the same individuals before and after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that social trust in the Netherlands suddenly dropped from its historically stable level, reaching one of its lowest points on record. The decline was stronger among residents belonging to official high-risk categories, especially if they perceived themselves as likely to become infected. Individuals who more strongly agreed with self-isolation norms or did not perceive a widespread compliance or agreement with such norms also reported a greater loss of trust. Full article here:
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