Individual and covid-19-specific indicators of compliance with mask use and social distancing: The importance of norms, perceived effectiveness, and state response

Jordan A. Gette, Angela K. Stevens, Andrew K. Littlefield, Kerri L. Hayes, Helene R. White, Kristina M. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has resulted in widespread negative outcomes. Face masks and social distancing have been used to minimize its spread. Understanding who will engage in protective behaviors is crucial for continued response to the pandemic. We aimed to evaluate factors that are indicative of mask use and social distancing among current and former college students prior to vaccine access. Participants (N = 490; 67% female; 60% White) were current and former U.S. undergraduate college students. Perceived effectiveness and descriptive norms regarding COVID-19 safety measures, COVID-19-related news watching and seeking, state response timing to stay-at-home mandates, impulsivity-like traits, affect (mood), and demographic variables were assessed. Results found that greater perceived effectiveness indicated increased personal compliance within and across behaviors. Greater norms related to compliance within behaviors (e.g., indoor norms related to indoor compliance). Increased perceived stress, anxiety, and negative affect indicated greater compliance. More positive affect was associated with less compliance. Being non-White, compared to White (p < 0.001), and female, compared to male (p < 0.001), were associated with greater compliance. Overall, early implementation of stay-at-home orders, exposure to COVID-19related news, and increased perceived effectiveness are crucial for health safety behavior compliance. Findings are important for informing response to health crises, including COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8715
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Compliance
  • Government response
  • Norms
  • Perceived effectiveness

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