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Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey

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  • Andreas Lieberoth
  • Shiang-Yi Lin, University of Hong Kong, Taiwan
  • Sabrina Stöckli, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Hyemin Han, University of Alabama, United States
  • Marta Kowal, University of Wroclaw
  • ,
  • Gelpí Rebekah, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Stavroula Chrona, King's College London, United Kingdom
  • Thao P Tran
  • ,
  • Alma Jeftíc, International Christian University
  • ,
  • Jesper Rasmussen
  • Huseyin Cakal, Keele University
  • ,
  • Taciano L. Milfont, University of Waikato
  • ,
  • The COVIDiSTRESS global survey consortium
The objective of the present analysis is to understand relationships between psychological responses in the early months of global coronavirus restrictions and help understand how different government
measures succeed or fail in changing public behaviour. There were variations between and within countries. Although Western Europeans registered as more concerned over COVID-19, more stressed, and having slightly more trust in the governments’ efforts, there was no clear geographical pattern in compliance with behavioural measures. Detailed plots illustrating betweencountries differences are provided. Using both traditional and Bayesian analyses, we found that
individuals who worried about getting sick worked harder to protect themselves and others.
However, concern about the coronavirus itself did not account for all of the variances in experienced stress during the early months of COVID-19 restrictions. More alarmingly, such stress was associated with less compliance. Further, those most concerned over the coronavirus trusted in government measures primarily where policies were strict. While concern over a disease is a source of mental distress, other factors including strictness of protective measures, social support and personal lockdown conditions must also be taken into consideration to fully appreciate the psychological impact of COVID-19 and to understand why some people fail to follow behavioural guidelines intended to protect themselves and others from infection.

The Stage 1 manuscript associated with this submission received in-principle acceptance (IPA) on 18 May 2020. Following
IPA, the accepted Stage 1 version of the manuscript was preregistered on the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/g2t3b. This preregistration was performed prior to data analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number200589
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • covid-19, stress, psychology, worry, behavioral measures, behavioral sciences, compliance, trust, social support, open science, registered report, Trivsel, Samfund/samtid

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