Stuck in the past or living in the present? Temporal focus and the spread of COVID-19.

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Date: July 2021
From: Social Science & Medicine(Vol. 280)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 327 words

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Abstract :

Keywords ARIMA model; COVID-19; Pandemic; Temporal focus; Dynamic regression; Text analytics Highlights * Examines temporal focus of US social media users and COVID infection rates. * Applies text analytics and dynamic regression via ARIMA on 0.76 million tweets. * Finds that past temporal focus is related to the growth of COVID-19 cases. * Present focus was related to a reduction in the spread of COVID cases. * Temporal focus could be helpful in managing public health during the pandemic. Abstract Research has shown that the temporal focus of individuals can have a real effect on behavior. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this study posits that temporal focus will affect adherence behavior regarding health control measures, such as social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing, which will be manifested through the degree of spread of COVID-19. It is suggested that social media can provide an indicator of the general temporal focus of the population at a particular time. In this study, we examine the temporal focus of Twitter text data and the number of COVID-19 cases in the US over a 317-day period from the inception of the pandemic, using text analytics to classify the temporal content of 0.76 million tweets. The data is then analyzed using dynamic regression via advanced ARIMA modelling, differencing the data, removing weekly seasonality and creating a stationary time series. The result of the dynamic regression finds that past orientation does indeed have an effect on the growth of COVID-19 cases in the US. However, a present focus tends to reduce the spread of COVID cases. Future focus had no effect in the model. Overall, the research suggests that detecting and managing temporal focus could be an important tool in managing public health during a pandemic. Author Affiliation: CODA Research Centre, King's Business School, King's College London, Bush House, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG, United Kingdom Article History: Revised 16 May 2021; Accepted 17 May 2021 Byline: Stuart J. Barnes [stuart.barnes@kcl.ac.uk]

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A664973778