The relationship between government trust and preventive behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic in China : Exploring the roles of knowledge and negative emotion

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Original languageEnglish
Article number106288
Journal / PublicationPreventive Medicine
Volume141
Online published19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Abstract

Government trust is known to be associated with preventive practices during pandemics, but few studies have explored the roles of knowledge and negative emotion in conditioning the relationship between trust and preventive behaviors. The aim of this study was to explore the roles of knowledge and negative emotion in conditioning the relationship between trust and preventive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Data from a cross-sectional survey of 3000 Chinese adults [mean (SD) age 36.93 (12.11) years; 52.4% male], conducted using quota-sampling method (March 2–2020 to March 23–2020), were analyzed. Overall, respondents performed recommended preventive measures more frequently (3.21 out of 4) than excessive preventive measures (2.11 out of 4). Government trust was positively associated with both officially recommended (b = 0.12; 95%CI = 0.18, 0.25) and excessive preventive behaviors (b = 0.07; 95%CI = 0.03, 0.10). The positive relationship between trust and excessive preventive behaviors was found to be statistically significant only among those with low levels of COVID-19 knowledge. Officially recommended preventive behavior is most likely to happen when there is a combination of high levels of government trust and low levels of negative emotion. Therefore, government trust increases both official and excessive (sometimes unscientific) preventive behaviors. Interventions shall aim to enhance people's COVID-19 knowledge and to reduce negative emotions.

Research Area(s)

  • COVID-19, Government trust, Knowledge, Negative emotion, Preventive behaviors

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