A cross-sectional international study shows confidence in public health scientists predicts use of COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions

Shaun Goldfinch, Ross Taplin

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: We examine the antecedents of COVID-19 phone tracking applications use, social distancing, and mask use, in the United States, Hong Kong and Japan. Methods: We draw on online panel surveys of over 1000 respondents each in the USA, Hong Kong and Japan, using broadly representative quota sample selections. Results are tested by ordinal logistic regression for the two ordinal dependent variables and logistic regression for phone app use. Results: Confidence in public health scientists predicts use of phone tracking applications, social distancing, and mask use, albeit statistically insignificant for tracer phone application use in Hong Kong. Trust in government predicts the use of a phone tracking application. Counterintuitively, trust in government is negatively and significantly associated with mask use and social distancing in Hong Kong and Japan. Women are more likely to wear masks and practice social distancing. Government employees are more likely to use a phone tracking application, but less likely to mask and social distance. Voting and civic participation are positively associated with trust in government and confidence in public health scientists, in all three countries. There are interesting variations across all three countries on other antecedents and controls. Conclusions: Building and maintaining confidence in public health scientists provides a key tool to manage pandemics. Credible, effectively communicative – and independent – medical and scientific leaders may be central to pandemic control success. For digital measures, trust in government and privacy protection is central. Political and social factors are important to understand successful public health policy implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number662
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Confidence
  • COVID-19
  • Face Masks
  • Health policy
  • Phone tracking application
  • Public Health Scientists
  • Social distancing
  • Trust in government

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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