School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Rachel Piferi


LMX, Public Health, COVID-19, Government, Trust, EFA


Psychology | Public Health


As of February 8, 2022, more than 394,381,395 individuals across the globe have contracted COVID-19; and from this number, reportedly more than 5,735,179 have died due to the virus (World Health Organization, 2022). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local, state, and federal governments have fielded a host of public health mandates in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus; however, little is known about the efficacy of such mandates and how willing compliance is obtained through perceived high-quality leader-member exchanges. Compliance is best defined as willing conformity to official requirements; here, compliance is examined through the lens of relational dynamics. Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory provided the theoretical framework for this mixed-methods investigation. Data was collected from participants (N = 149) currently living in the geographical limits of Dougherty County, GA. An adapted LMX-7 (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) was used to assess the perceived quality of LMX between the study participants and their elected officials along with a novel scale designed to assess compliance to public health mandates. A statistically significant positive correlation was observed between perceived quality of LMX and citizen willingness to comply with public health mandates. Qualitative findings from this investigation included the overwhelming support, initially, for public health mandates. Additionally, interviews revealed that participants generally engaged in low-quality leader-member exchanges with their elected officials. This research has the potential to construct a foundation for the use of LMX theory outside of the corporate setting, contributing to our understanding of relational dynamics and how power-based relationships influence prosocial and positive health behaviors.