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Worry and behaviour at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Results from three UK surveys (the COVID-19 Rapid Survey of Adherence to Interventions and Responses [CORSAIR] study)
27 Dec 2021
Preventive Medicine 2021. Doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101686
Smith LE, Potts HWW, Amlôt R, Fear NT, Michie S, Rubin GJ
Abstract We aimed to describe worry and uptake of behaviours that prevent the spread of infection (respiratory and hand hygiene, distancing) in the UK at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak (January and February 2020) and to investigate factors associated with worry and adopting protective behaviours. Three cross-sectional online surveys of UK adults (28 to 30 January, n = 2016; 3 to 6 February, n = 2002; 10 to 13 February 2020, n = 2006) were conducted. We used logistic regressions to investigate associations between outcome measures (worry, respiratory and hand hygiene behaviour, distancing behaviour) and explanatory variables. 19.8% of participants (95% CI 18.8% to 20.8%) were very or extremely worried about COVID-19. People from minoritized ethnic groups were particularly likely to feel worried. 39.9% of participants (95% CI 37.7% to 42.0%) had completed one or more hand or respiratory hygiene behaviour more than usual in the last seven days. Uptake was associated with greater worry, perceived effectiveness of individual behaviours, self-efficacy for engaging in them, and having heard more information about COVID-19. 13.7% (95% CI 12.2% to 15.2%) had reduced the number of people they had met. This was associated with greater worry, perceived effectiveness, and self-efficacy. At the start of novel infectious disease outbreaks, communications should emphasise perceived effectiveness of behaviours and the ease with which they can be carried out.