The Covid-19 outbreak was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization in January 2020. As a consequence, several protective measures were urged by national governments in order to limit the spread of the pandemic. Drawing on the literature on health behaviours, in the present study, we investigated the psychological factors (i.e., attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control, intentions, and risk perception) that were associated with two highly recommended behaviours: frequent hand washing and social distancing (i.e., staying at home except for essential reasons). The study employed a correlational design with a follow-up. A questionnaire including measures of psychological predictors was administered via social media to a sample of 403 adults residing in Italy during the lockdown. Self-reported behaviours were assessed one week later. Findings showed that attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control were significantly related to hand washing and social distancing through intentions. Risk perception was a significant predictor of social distancing but not of hand washing. These findings suggest that intervention and communication strategies aimed at encouraging preventive measures during the Covid-19 pandemic should be organized taking into account multiple factors which partially differ depending on the type of behaviour considered. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article's Community and Social Impact Statement.

Psychological predictors of protective behaviours during the Covid‐19 pandemic: Theory of planned behaviour and risk perception

Elena Trifiletti;Soraya E. Shamloo;Martina Faccini;
2022

Abstract

The Covid-19 outbreak was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization in January 2020. As a consequence, several protective measures were urged by national governments in order to limit the spread of the pandemic. Drawing on the literature on health behaviours, in the present study, we investigated the psychological factors (i.e., attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control, intentions, and risk perception) that were associated with two highly recommended behaviours: frequent hand washing and social distancing (i.e., staying at home except for essential reasons). The study employed a correlational design with a follow-up. A questionnaire including measures of psychological predictors was administered via social media to a sample of 403 adults residing in Italy during the lockdown. Self-reported behaviours were assessed one week later. Findings showed that attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control were significantly related to hand washing and social distancing through intentions. Risk perception was a significant predictor of social distancing but not of hand washing. These findings suggest that intervention and communication strategies aimed at encouraging preventive measures during the Covid-19 pandemic should be organized taking into account multiple factors which partially differ depending on the type of behaviour considered. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article's Community and Social Impact Statement.
Covid‐19 pandemic
Theory of Planned Behaviour
hand washing
health behaviours
risk perception
self‐protective behaviours
social distancing
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1045496
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