Worry, Risk Perception, and Controllability Predict Intentions Toward COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors
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FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
COVID-19Risk perceptionPreventive behaviorsWorryControllabilityNumeracyMental imageryAffect
Sobkow A, Zaleskiewicz T, Petrova D, Garcia-Retamero R and Traczyk J (2020) Worry, Risk Perception, and Controllability Predict Intentions Toward COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors. Front. Psychol. 11:582720. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.582720
SponsorshipNational Science Center, Poland National Science Centre, Poland 2018/31/D/HS6/02899 2019/33/B/HS6/01920; Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (Spain) PSI2014-51842-R
The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 has already had serious worldwide health, socio-economic, political, and educational consequences. In the present study, we investigated what factors can motivate young adults to comply with the recommended preventive measures against coronavirus infection. Even though young people are less likely to suffer severe medical consequences from the virus, they can still transmit it to more vulnerable individuals. Surprisingly, we found no significant effects of previously successful experimental manipulations (e.g., enhancing self-efficacy, and visual aids) that aimed to improve risk understanding and impact COVID-19 related behavioral intentions. Instead, intentions toward preventive behaviors were predicted by self-reported worry, perceived controllability of the pandemic, and risk perception. Interestingly, worry about health, and worry about restricting personal freedom predicted behavioral intentions in diverging directions. In particular, participants who were worried about health, were more willing to obey strict hygiene and social distancing restrictions. In contrast, participants who were worried about personal restrictions, were less ready to adopt these preventive actions.