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A Qualitative Study Evaluating the Factors Affecting Families’ Adherence to the First COVID-19 Lockdown in England Using the COM-B Model and TDF

Publication date: 

14 Jun 2022


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7305


Woodland L, Hodson A, Webster RK, Amlôt R, Smith LE and Rubin GJ

Publication type: 



Abstract The ability of families to adhere to public health guidance is critical to controlling a pandemic. We conducted qualitative interviews with 30 parents of children aged 18 and under, between 16 and 21 April 2020 when schools in England were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the Theoretical Domains Framework, we classified the factors that influenced adherence to seven non-pharmaceutical interventions. We found 40 factors that influenced a family’s ability to adhere. Parents generally indicated they could adhere and reported how their family had changed their behaviour to comply with the guidance. Parents primarily reported they were motivated to adhere out of concern for the health consequences of COVID-19, and because the guidance was delivered by the government. However, we found that reduced access to resources (e.g., technology, transport, and outside space) and social influences that encouraged non-adherent behaviour, decreased adherence. Furthermore, we suggest that families with low psychological and physical ability may face additional challenges to adherence and need to be supported. During future school closures, public health agencies should account for these factors when developing guidance. Keywords: COVID-19; children; parents; England; adherence; COM-B; theoretical domains framework; non-pharmaceutical intervention