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Intention to adhere to test, trace, and isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic (the COVID-19 Rapid Survey of Adherence to Interventions and Responses [CORSAIR] study)

Publication date: 

30 Nov 2021


Br J Health Psychol 2021


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

Publication type: 



Abstract Objectives (1) To investigate factors associated with intention to self-isolate, request a test, and share details of close contacts when required. (2) To determine whether associations were stronger during periods when less stringent national COVID-19 restrictions were in place. Design Series of cross-sectional nationally representative surveys. We selected survey waves where different national restrictions were in place in England (first lockdown, summer release, second lockdown, third lockdown). Methods We investigated whether psychological factors and increased out-of-home activity in the last week were associated with intention to self-isolate and request a test if you were to develop COVID-19 symptoms, and intention to share details of contacts if you were to test positive. We also investigated whether the strength of associations differed by timepoint in the pandemic. Results Intention to self-isolate, request a test and share details of contacts were associated with greater perceived risk of COVID-19 to people in the United Kingdom, knowing that COVID-19 transmission can be asymptomatic, and agreeing that personal behaviour has an impact on COVID-19 transmission. There were few differences in strength of associations by timepoint suggesting these effects are broadly stable over time. Conclusions Psychological factors were associated with intention to adhere to key components of the contact tracing system; there was no evidence for an association with increased out-of-home activity. Messages that increase knowledge that COVID-19 can be transmitted even if someone does not have symptoms and that an individual’s actions can contribute to the spread of the virus may promote engagement with the test, trace, and isolate system.