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Tiered restrictions for COVID-19 in England: knowledge, motivation and self-reported behaviour

Publication date: 

5 Jan 2022


Public Health 2022; 204: 33-39


Smith LE, Potts HWW, Amlȏt R, Fear NT, Michie S, Rubin GJ

Publication type: 



Abstract Objectives To test whether public knowledge and confidence in one's understanding of the local restrictions, motivation to adhere to local restrictions, and self-reported behaviour (going out for exercise, to work, socially) differed according to tier level. Study design Cross-sectional, nationally representative, online survey of 1728 participants living in England (data collection: 26 to 28 October 2020). Methods We conducted logistic regression analyses to investigate whether knowledge of restrictions, confidence in knowledge of restrictions, motivation to adhere to restrictions, and self-reported behaviour were associated with personal characteristics and tier. Results Between 81% (tier 2) and 89% (tier 3) of participants correctly identified which tier they lived in. Knowledge of specific restrictions was variable. 73% were confident that they understood which tier was in place in their local area, whereas 71% were confident they understood the guidance in their local area. Confidence was associated with being older and living in a less deprived area. 73% were motivated to adhere to restrictions in their local area. Motivation was associated with being female and older. People living in tiers with greater restrictions were less likely to report going out to meet people from another household socially; reported rates of going out for exercise and for work did not differ. Conclusions Although recognition of local tier level was high, knowledge of specific guidance for tiers was variable. There was some indication that nuanced guidance (e.g. behaviour allowed in some settings but not others) was more poorly understood than guidance which was absolute (i.e. behaviour is either allowed or not allowed). Keywords: COVID-19, Adherence, Restrictions, Guidance, Physical distancing, Social distancing