The association between COVID-19-related attitudes, concerns and behaviours in relation to public health policies: A behavioural science approach to optimising policy strategies to improve health, economic and quality of life outcomes (the iCARE Study).
The key to halting the rapid spread of COVID‑19 and ‘flattening the curve’ is public adherence to drastic, rapidly evolving behaviour-based prevention policies that are being implemented around the world. However, adherence depends on: public awareness of prevention policies; the extent to which the public perceives these policies as relevant and important; and their capability to enact them, which may be influenced by various demographic, family, occupational, health, and environmental variables. Further, as things start to re-open, people’s willingness to adhere to new government decisions and recommendations (e.g., re: school openings, store openings) will also be critical for transitioning through the phases of the pandemic and improving the economy. Unfortunately, policies have varied greatly between provinces and countries, contributing to uncertainty about government policy motives and confusion about which policies to follow. Understanding people’s concerns about COVID-19, their perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes about public health policies, and how they impact what people are (and are not) willing to do will be important for informing policy strategy and communication, to ensure the best health and economic outcomes. The iCARE Study will capture key data on people’s awareness, attitudes, and behaviours as they relate to the COVID‑19 policies, as well as, the impacts that COVID‑19 is having on people’s physical and mental health, financial situation, and quality of life. Data from approximately 150,000 people around the world will be linked to case data, policy data, and Google mobility data to understand what government policies are (and are not) influencing behaviour and outcomes, and in whom these policies are most or least effective. This will allow us to inform governments on the efficacy of policy measures on both people’s behavior, and on key health and quality of life outcomes.