Attitudes and practices toward COVID-19 precautionary measures: A comparative study of health professionals and public

Muhammad Jawad Hashim, Sarah Jamil, Murriam Masood, Romona Devi Govender, Ali Rashed Al Shamsi, Anwar Al Zaabi, Moien AB Khan, Aqeel Aziz Saleem, Gohar Jamil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic has been impaired by the denial and defiance of preventive recommendations. Aims: We aimed to study the attitudes toward COVID-19 social measures among laypersons and healthcare professionals. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in the United Arab Emirates using a self-administered online questionnaire. Both healthcare workers and laypersons were actively recruited. In addition to sociodemographic variables, the questionnaire included questions on anxiety, knowledge, and defiance related to COVID-19. Results: A total of 615 individuals with a mean age of 32 years (SD, 12) participated. Females comprised 69% and healthcare workers constituted 60% of the study sample. Among laypersons, over 42% reported having social gatherings at home, and 44% admitted to visiting crowded places. More than half of the respondents felt increased anxiety. Previous COVID-19 infection did not affect attitudes or anxiety levels. Knowledge about COVID-19 was higher among those who were more educated (r =.21). Healthcare workers had lower anxiety than laypersons (p =.002). COVID-19 anxiety was higher among older persons and did not decrease with more knowledge. COVID-19 defiance was higher among younger male respondents from larger households and did not correlate with knowledge. Multivariate analysis showed more defiant attitudes at younger ages. Conclusions: Anxiety-related to the COVID-19 pandemic is more common in older individuals, whereas younger persons were more likely to deny and defy prevention recommendations despite having knowledge of viral transmission. Voluntary compliance by young individuals requires an engaging communication strategy to generate more compassionate attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3267
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • attitude
  • knowledge
  • practices
  • prevention
  • social precautions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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