Predicting attitudes towards easing COVID-19 restrictions in the United States of America_ The role of health concerns, demographic, political, and individual difference factors.pdf (1.19 MB)
Download file

Predicting attitudes towards easing COVID-19 restrictions in the United States of America: The role of health concerns, demographic, political, and individual difference factors

Download (1.19 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 20.09.2022, 23:46 authored by Adam GeraceAdam Gerace, Gabrielle RigneyGabrielle Rigney, Joel R Anderson
Despite rising cases of COVID-19 in the United States of America, several states are easing restrictions (e.g., relaxing physical distancing requirements, reopening businesses) that were imposed to limit community transmission of the virus. Individuals hold differing opinions regarding whether restrictions should continue to be imposed or lifted, evidenced, for example, by debate and protests regarding reopening of businesses and venues. Health and social psychological research suggest that perceptions of COVID-19 related risk, experiences of the virus, and individual difference factors can help explain individuals’ attitudes towards health initiatives and their tendency to be persuaded towards a specific course of action. The purpose of this study was to investigate what factors influence support or opposition to easing COVID-19-related restrictions. A sample of 350 United States citizens, responding to an anonymous survey, were asked about the extent to which they support/oppose easing of COVID-19-related restrictions, both generally and in relation to specific restrictions. Respondents completed measures of their experiences of COVID-19, individual difference factors, and demographic variables, including political affiliation and degree of social and economic conservatism. In a series of regression analyses, significant demographic predictors of support or opposition for easing restrictions were gender, age, ethnicity, and education, with political affiliation and degree of social and economic conservatism also predicting attitudes. Experiences related to COVID-19 that predicted attitudes were concerns for self and family, perceptions of threat posed by the virus, perceived ability to adhere to restrictions, willingness to take government direction, and belief in COVID-19-related conspiracy theories. At an individual differences level, uncertainty avoidance, collectivism, long-term orientation, masculinity, empathic concern, personal distress, reactance, and general conspiracy theory beliefs all significantly predicted attitudes to easing restrictions. Understanding the factors that help explain attitudes towards COVID-19 restrictions can inform how best to position health messaging and initiatives going forward, particularly as states or countries open borders.

History

Volume

17

Issue

2

Start Page

1

End Page

27

Number of Pages

27

eISSN

1932-6203

ISSN

1932-6203

Publisher

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Publisher License

CC BY

Additional Rights

CC BY 4.0

Language

en

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

Yes

Acceptance Date

12/01/2022

External Author Affiliations

Australian Catholic University

Author Research Institute

  • Appleton Institute

Era Eligible

Yes

Medium

Electronic-eCollection

Journal

PLOS ONE

Article Number

e0263128