Compliance with health-protective behaviors in relation to COVID-19: The roles of health-related misinformation, perceived vulnerability, and personality traits

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A critical challenge that has faced society during the COVID-19 pandemic is successfully convincing the public to adopt and comply with a range of health-protective behaviors including wearing a mask and frequent handwashing as well as compliance with imposed lockdown curfews and quarantine orders. Some individuals have done so successfully while others have outrightly resisted. This chapter reviews three primary constructs for which a burgeoning literature base has emerged, and which appear to be associated with compliance with health-protective behaviors in the context of COVID-19. First, the tendency to believe and propagate COVID-19 misinformation, primarily over social media. Two principal factors have been implicated in explaining some individuals’ tendency to share misinformation-evidence relating to deficient self-regulation and information overload is reviewed with the net result being decreased compliance. Second, perceived risk, the extent to which individuals view themselves to be vulnerable to infection coupled with beliefs relating to their perceived self-efficacy to successfully implement the recommended behaviors appears particularly important. Third, personality traits also appear to exert a degree of predictive control over compliance, albeit smaller in comparison to the preceding factors. Most notably individuals who are agreeable tend to comply while those with Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) are more likely to engage in maladaptive behaviors (e.g., stockpiling). These results can be used to inform the design and dissemination of public health information during the pandemic; specifically, campaigns should include information that is clear, consistent, and understandable and emphasizes the effectiveness of the recommended behaviors so as to reduce uncertainty and increase public self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMental Health Effects of COVID-19
PublisherElsevier
Pages263-281
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780128242896
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • Adherence
  • COVID-19
  • Compliance
  • Coronavirus
  • Misinformation
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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