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Barriers and facilitators of adherence to social distancing recommendations during COVID-19 among a large international sample of adults.
PLoS One. 2020; 15(10):e0239795.Plos

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Social distancing measures (e.g., avoiding travel, limiting physical contact with people outside of one's household, and maintaining a 1 or 2-metre distance between self and others when in public, depending on the country) are the primary strategies used to prevent transmission of the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Given that there is no effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, it is important to identify barriers and facilitators to adherence to social distancing to inform ongoing and future public health campaigns.

METHOD

This cross-sectional study was conducted online with a convenience sample of English-speaking adults. The survey was administered over the course of three weeks (March 30 -April 16, 2020) when social distancing measures were well-enforced in North America and Europe. Participants were asked to complete measures assessing socio-demographic characteristics, psychological constructs, including motivations to engage in social distancing, prosocial attitudes, distress, and social distancing behaviors. Descriptive (mean, standard deviation, percentage) and inferential statistics (logistic regression) were used to describes endorsement rates for various motivations, rates of adherence to social distancing recommendations, and predictors of adherence.

RESULTS

Data were collected from 2013 adults living primarily in North America and Europe. Most frequently endorsed motivations to engage in social distancing (or facilitators) included "I want to protect others" (86%), "I want to protect myself" (84%), and I feel a sense of responsibility to protect our community" (84%). Most frequently endorsed motivations against social distancing (or barriers) included "There are many people walking on the streets in my area" (31%), "I have friends or family who need me to run errands for them" (25%), "I don't trust the messages my government provides about the pandemic" (13%), and "I feel stressed when I am alone or in isolation" (13%). Adherence to social distancing recommendations ranged from 45% for "working from home or remotely" to 90% for "avoiding crowded places/non-essential travel", with men and younger individuals (18-24 years) showing lower adherence compared to women and older individuals.

CONCLUSION

This study found that adherence to social distancing recommendations vary depending on the behaviour, with none of the surveyed behaviours showing perfect adherence. Strongest facilitators included wanting to protect the self, feeling a responsibility to protect the community, and being able to work/study remotely; strongest barriers included having friends or family who needed help with running errands and socializing in order to avoid feeling lonely. Future interventions to improve adherence to social distancing measures should couple individual-level strategies targeting key barriers to social distancing identified herein, with effective institutional measures and public health interventions. Public health campaigns should continue to highlight compassionate attitudes towards social distancing.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33027281

Citation

Coroiu, Adina, et al. "Barriers and Facilitators of Adherence to Social Distancing Recommendations During COVID-19 Among a Large International Sample of Adults." PloS One, vol. 15, no. 10, 2020, pp. e0239795.
Coroiu A, Moran C, Campbell T, et al. Barriers and facilitators of adherence to social distancing recommendations during COVID-19 among a large international sample of adults. PLoS One. 2020;15(10):e0239795.
Coroiu, A., Moran, C., Campbell, T., & Geller, A. C. (2020). Barriers and facilitators of adherence to social distancing recommendations during COVID-19 among a large international sample of adults. PloS One, 15(10), e0239795. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239795
Coroiu A, et al. Barriers and Facilitators of Adherence to Social Distancing Recommendations During COVID-19 Among a Large International Sample of Adults. PLoS One. 2020;15(10):e0239795. PubMed PMID: 33027281.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Barriers and facilitators of adherence to social distancing recommendations during COVID-19 among a large international sample of adults. AU - Coroiu,Adina, AU - Moran,Chelsea, AU - Campbell,Tavis, AU - Geller,Alan C, Y1 - 2020/10/07/ PY - 2020/05/10/received PY - 2020/09/15/accepted PY - 2020/10/7/entrez PY - 2020/10/8/pubmed PY - 2020/10/28/medline SP - e0239795 EP - e0239795 JF - PloS one JO - PLoS One VL - 15 IS - 10 N2 - BACKGROUND: Social distancing measures (e.g., avoiding travel, limiting physical contact with people outside of one's household, and maintaining a 1 or 2-metre distance between self and others when in public, depending on the country) are the primary strategies used to prevent transmission of the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Given that there is no effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, it is important to identify barriers and facilitators to adherence to social distancing to inform ongoing and future public health campaigns. METHOD: This cross-sectional study was conducted online with a convenience sample of English-speaking adults. The survey was administered over the course of three weeks (March 30 -April 16, 2020) when social distancing measures were well-enforced in North America and Europe. Participants were asked to complete measures assessing socio-demographic characteristics, psychological constructs, including motivations to engage in social distancing, prosocial attitudes, distress, and social distancing behaviors. Descriptive (mean, standard deviation, percentage) and inferential statistics (logistic regression) were used to describes endorsement rates for various motivations, rates of adherence to social distancing recommendations, and predictors of adherence. RESULTS: Data were collected from 2013 adults living primarily in North America and Europe. Most frequently endorsed motivations to engage in social distancing (or facilitators) included "I want to protect others" (86%), "I want to protect myself" (84%), and I feel a sense of responsibility to protect our community" (84%). Most frequently endorsed motivations against social distancing (or barriers) included "There are many people walking on the streets in my area" (31%), "I have friends or family who need me to run errands for them" (25%), "I don't trust the messages my government provides about the pandemic" (13%), and "I feel stressed when I am alone or in isolation" (13%). Adherence to social distancing recommendations ranged from 45% for "working from home or remotely" to 90% for "avoiding crowded places/non-essential travel", with men and younger individuals (18-24 years) showing lower adherence compared to women and older individuals. CONCLUSION: This study found that adherence to social distancing recommendations vary depending on the behaviour, with none of the surveyed behaviours showing perfect adherence. Strongest facilitators included wanting to protect the self, feeling a responsibility to protect the community, and being able to work/study remotely; strongest barriers included having friends or family who needed help with running errands and socializing in order to avoid feeling lonely. Future interventions to improve adherence to social distancing measures should couple individual-level strategies targeting key barriers to social distancing identified herein, with effective institutional measures and public health interventions. Public health campaigns should continue to highlight compassionate attitudes towards social distancing. SN - 1932-6203 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33027281/Barriers_and_facilitators_of_adherence_to_social_distancing_recommendations_during_COVID_19_among_a_large_international_sample_of_adults_ L2 - https://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239795 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -