Factors associated with non-adherence to social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic: a logistic regression analysis.BMC Public Health. 2021 02 13; 21(1):352.BP
On March 23, 2020, the government of the United Kingdom told the British people to stay home, an unprecedented request designed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and stop the National Health Service from being overwhelmed.
This study undertook a cross-sectional design to survey a convenience sample of 681 residents of North London on their social distancing (SD) behaviours, demographics, housing situation, politics, psychology and social support using an online questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to measure the associations between these explanatory factors and non-adherence to all SD rules and intentional non-adherence to SD rules.
The vast majority (92.8%) of participants did not adhere to all SD rules and nearly half (48.6%) engaged in intentional non-adherence of rules. The odds of not adhering to all SD rules increased if a participant was not identified as highly vulnerable to COVID-19 [OR = 4.5], had lower control over others' distancing [OR = .724], had lower control over responsibilities for which coming into contact with others was unavoidable [OR = .642], and if SD behaviours were reported after lockdown was first relaxed [OR = .261]. The odds of intentionally not adhering to SD rules increased if a participant had a lower intention to socially distance [OR = .468], had lower control over others' distancing [OR = .829], had a doctoral degree compared to a master's degree [OR = .332], a professional qualification [OR = .307], a bachelor's degree [OR = .361] or work-related qualification [OR = .174], voted for the UK Government compared to not voting for the Government [OR = .461], perceived higher normative pressure from neighbours [OR = 1.121] and had greater support from friends [OR = 1.465].
Non-adherence to all SD rules had a stronger association with vulnerability to COVID-19 and control over SD, whereas intentional non-adherence had a stronger association with intention and anti-social psychological factors. It is recommended that people living in high-risk environments, such as those living in houses of multiple occupancy, should be specially supported when asked to stay at home, and public health messaging should emphasise shared responsibility and public consciousness.