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Covid-19:we diligently follow health measures only if others do the same

According to a recent survey in the UK, people who diligently respect sanitary measures are not necessarily those who believe in them the most. Nor are they necessarily the most vulnerable people.

Different measurement communication strategies

The latest global Covid-19 report counts more than 105 million cases and 2.3 million deaths . The fact is that these figures continue to increase while vaccination campaigns maintain the hope of a way out of the crisis in the more or less near future. However, solving this problem will necessarily involve compliance with sanitary measures and government directives.

In Europe, for example, states have explained to their population that each person should act on their own scale . Nevertheless, these communication strategies defying "every man for himself" have shown their limits. Other countries have bet with more or less authority on communication evoking instead interdependence and social cohesion such as Australia, China, South Korea, New Zealand or Singapore.

According to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford (UK) and published in the British Journal of Psychology on January 20, 2021, individuals are ready to follow the measures only if others follow too , even though everyone knows that in the end, the measures in question are beneficial for all of us.

Covid-19:we diligently follow health measures only if others do the same

Our attitude would depend on that of others

The study in question involved 6,500 participants from 110 countries during the first wave, i.e. from April to June 2020. In an online questionnaire, the volunteers had to indicate to what extent they approved of the directives related to the pandemic in their own country. They also had to mention the degree of approval of their relatives and fellow citizens. The objective was to understand what everyone thinks of the behavior of others.

According to the results, the individualistic assumptions of many governments are wrong. The people who best respect the measures are not necessarily those who believe in them the most , or even the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. In fact, the most diligent are those who believe that their loved ones follow the rules well.

In other words, social influence is central to the motivation of very many people. The most vulnerable individuals were also more likely to follow the rules if their loved ones were too. The survey also revealed that the nation can play the same role as the family in influencing compliance with the rules. On the other hand, this was only valid for people imbued with a certain patriotism.