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EMAC 2022 Annual

How Compassion Influences Privacy-Related Decision-Making – Prosocial Data Disclosure in Covid-19 Contact Tracing Apps

Published: May 24, 2022


Klara Greinwald, University of Passau; Eileen Dauti, University of Passau; Alisa Keller, University of Passau; Eva Pieringer, University of Passau; Dirk Totzek, University of Passau


Even with vaccination levels rising, contact tracing apps (CTAs) remain promising to contain Covid-19. Yet, CTAs’ success is limited as positively-tested users hesitate to disclose test results. This may be due to the absence of direct benefits making disclosure a prosocial act. Based on the mood-maintenance hypothesis, we examine compassion with its inherent helping desire as a key driver of disclosure risks and benefits and subsequent test result disclosure. In two experimental studies, we show that (1) unrelated negatively-valenced compassion decreases disclosure risks and (2) evoking neutrally-valenced compassion during the disclosure process increases disclosure benefits, both thus increasing positive test result disclosure. We contribute to research on health and privacy, prosocial behavior, and emotions. Health authorities may leverage this to better handle the containment of Covid-19 and other virus diseases.