Predictors of changing patterns of adherence to containment measures during the early stage of COVID-19 pandemic: an international longitudinal study

Yuen Yu Chong, Wai Tong Chien, Ho Yu Cheng, Demetris Lamnisos, Jeļena Ļubenko, Giovambattista Presti, Valeria Squatrito, Marios Constantinou, Christiana Nicolaou, Savvas Papacostas, Gökçen Aydin, Francisco J. Ruiz, Maria B. Garcia-Martin, Diana P. Obando-Posada, Miguel A. Segura-Vargas, Vasilis S. Vasiliou, Louise McHugh, Stefan Höfer, Adriana Baban, David Dias NetoAna Nunes da Silva, Jean Louis Monestès, Javier Alvarez-Galvez, Marisa Paez Blarrina, Francisco Montesinos, Sonsoles Valdivia Salas, Dorottya Őri, Bartosz Kleszcz, Raimo Lappalainen, Iva Ivanović, David Gosar, Frederick Dionne, Rhonda M. Merwin, Andrew T. Gloster, Angelos P. Kassianos, Maria Karekla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Identifying common factors that affect public adherence to COVID-19 containment measures can directly inform the development of official public health communication strategies. The present international longitudinal study aimed to examine whether prosociality, together with other theoretically derived motivating factors (self-efficacy, perceived susceptibility and severity of COVID-19, perceived social support) predict the change in adherence to COVID-19 containment strategies. METHOD: In wave 1 of data collection, adults from eight geographical regions completed online surveys beginning in April 2020, and wave 2 began in June and ended in September 2020. Hypothesized predictors included prosociality, self-efficacy in following COVID-19 containment measures, perceived susceptibility to COVID-19, perceived severity of COVID-19 and perceived social support. Baseline covariates included age, sex, history of COVID-19 infection and geographical regions. Participants who reported adhering to specific containment measures, including physical distancing, avoidance of non-essential travel and hand hygiene, were classified as adherence. The dependent variable was the category of adherence, which was constructed based on changes in adherence across the survey period and included four categories: non-adherence, less adherence, greater adherence and sustained adherence (which was designated as the reference category). RESULTS: In total, 2189 adult participants (82% female, 57.2% aged 31-59 years) from East Asia (217 [9.7%]), West Asia (246 [11.2%]), North and South America (131 [6.0%]), Northern Europe (600 [27.4%]), Western Europe (322 [14.7%]), Southern Europe (433 [19.8%]), Eastern Europe (148 [6.8%]) and other regions (96 [4.4%]) were analyzed. Adjusted multinomial logistic regression analyses showed that prosociality, self-efficacy, perceived susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 were significant factors affecting adherence. Participants with greater self-efficacy at wave 1 were less likely to become non-adherence at wave 2 by 26% (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.74; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.77; P < .001), while those with greater prosociality at wave 1 were less likely to become less adherence at wave 2 by 23% (aOR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.79; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that in addition to emphasizing the potential severity of COVID-19 and the potential susceptibility to contact with the virus, fostering self-efficacy in following containment strategies and prosociality appears to be a viable public health education or communication strategy to combat COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25
Number of pages1
JournalGlobalization and health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2023


  • Adherence
  • Coronavirus
  • Disease containment measures
  • Longitudinal study
  • Prosociality


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