Moral Beauty during the COVID-19 Pandemic; Prosocial behavior among Adolescents and Young Adults, and the Inspiring Role of Media

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In this study, we examined whether adolescents and young adults help others during the COVID-19 pandemic and how stories in the media can inspire them in doing so. For this online daily diary study, 481 adolescents (M = 15.29, SD = 1.76) and 404 young adults (M = 21.48, SD = 1.91) were followed for two weeks. Findings of linear mixed effects models demonstrated that feelings of being moved by stories portraying moral beauty were related to giving emotional support to family and friends and to helping others, including strangers. Exposure to COVID-19 news was found to spark supporting and helping as well, and keeping physical distance in line with the advised protective behaviors against COVID-19. Moreover, supporting and helping others were related to happiness. Altogether, findings of this study highlight the potential role of media in helping people to bond together in times of crisis.