Protection motivation theory and social distancing behaviour in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic

Lynn Williams, Susan Rasmussen, Savi Maharaj, Adam Kleczkowski, Nicole Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Epidemics of respiratory infectious disease remain one of the most serious health risks facing the population. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., hand-washing or wearing face masks) can have a significant impact on the course of an infectious disease epidemic. The current study investigated whether protection motivation theory (PMT) is a useful framework for understanding social distancing behaviour (i.e. the tendency to reduce social contacts) in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic. There were 230 participants (109 males, 121 females, mean age 32.4 years) from the general population who completed self-report measures assessing the components of PMT (Milne, Orbell & Sheeran, 2002). In addition, participants completed a computer game which simulated an infectious disease epidemic in order to provide a measure of social distancing behaviour (Maharaj, McCaldin & Kleczkowski, 2011). The regression analyses revealed that none of the PMT variables were significant predictors of social distancing behaviour during the simulation task. However, fear (β = .218, p<.001), response-efficacy (β = .175, p<.01) and self-efficacy (β = 0.251, p < 0001) were all significant predictors of intention to engage in social distancing behaviour. Overall, the PMT variables (and demographic factors) explain 21.2% of the variance in intention. The findings demonstrated that PMT was a useful framework for understanding intention to engage in social distancing behaviour, but not actual behaviour during the simulated epidemic. These findings may reflect an intention-behaviour gap in relation to social distancing behaviour.
LanguageEnglish
Pages832-837
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume20
Issue number7
Early online date2 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Communicable Diseases
Motivation
Video Games
Hand Disinfection
Social Theory
Self Efficacy
Masks
Self Report
Population
Fear
Regression Analysis
Demography
Health

Keywords

  • infectious disease
  • social distancing
  • protection motivation
  • infectious disease control

Cite this

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title = "Protection motivation theory and social distancing behaviour in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic",
abstract = "Epidemics of respiratory infectious disease remain one of the most serious health risks facing the population. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., hand-washing or wearing face masks) can have a significant impact on the course of an infectious disease epidemic. The current study investigated whether protection motivation theory (PMT) is a useful framework for understanding social distancing behaviour (i.e. the tendency to reduce social contacts) in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic. There were 230 participants (109 males, 121 females, mean age 32.4 years) from the general population who completed self-report measures assessing the components of PMT (Milne, Orbell & Sheeran, 2002). In addition, participants completed a computer game which simulated an infectious disease epidemic in order to provide a measure of social distancing behaviour (Maharaj, McCaldin & Kleczkowski, 2011). The regression analyses revealed that none of the PMT variables were significant predictors of social distancing behaviour during the simulation task. However, fear (β = .218, p<.001), response-efficacy (β = .175, p<.01) and self-efficacy (β = 0.251, p < 0001) were all significant predictors of intention to engage in social distancing behaviour. Overall, the PMT variables (and demographic factors) explain 21.2{\%} of the variance in intention. The findings demonstrated that PMT was a useful framework for understanding intention to engage in social distancing behaviour, but not actual behaviour during the simulated epidemic. These findings may reflect an intention-behaviour gap in relation to social distancing behaviour.",
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Protection motivation theory and social distancing behaviour in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic. / Williams, Lynn; Rasmussen, Susan; Maharaj, Savi; Kleczkowski, Adam; Cairns, Nicole.

In: Psychology, Health and Medicine , Vol. 20, No. 7, 2015, p. 832-837.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Protection motivation theory and social distancing behaviour in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic

AU - Williams, Lynn

AU - Rasmussen, Susan

AU - Maharaj, Savi

AU - Kleczkowski, Adam

AU - Cairns, Nicole

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PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Epidemics of respiratory infectious disease remain one of the most serious health risks facing the population. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., hand-washing or wearing face masks) can have a significant impact on the course of an infectious disease epidemic. The current study investigated whether protection motivation theory (PMT) is a useful framework for understanding social distancing behaviour (i.e. the tendency to reduce social contacts) in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic. There were 230 participants (109 males, 121 females, mean age 32.4 years) from the general population who completed self-report measures assessing the components of PMT (Milne, Orbell & Sheeran, 2002). In addition, participants completed a computer game which simulated an infectious disease epidemic in order to provide a measure of social distancing behaviour (Maharaj, McCaldin & Kleczkowski, 2011). The regression analyses revealed that none of the PMT variables were significant predictors of social distancing behaviour during the simulation task. However, fear (β = .218, p<.001), response-efficacy (β = .175, p<.01) and self-efficacy (β = 0.251, p < 0001) were all significant predictors of intention to engage in social distancing behaviour. Overall, the PMT variables (and demographic factors) explain 21.2% of the variance in intention. The findings demonstrated that PMT was a useful framework for understanding intention to engage in social distancing behaviour, but not actual behaviour during the simulated epidemic. These findings may reflect an intention-behaviour gap in relation to social distancing behaviour.

AB - Epidemics of respiratory infectious disease remain one of the most serious health risks facing the population. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., hand-washing or wearing face masks) can have a significant impact on the course of an infectious disease epidemic. The current study investigated whether protection motivation theory (PMT) is a useful framework for understanding social distancing behaviour (i.e. the tendency to reduce social contacts) in response to a simulated infectious disease epidemic. There were 230 participants (109 males, 121 females, mean age 32.4 years) from the general population who completed self-report measures assessing the components of PMT (Milne, Orbell & Sheeran, 2002). In addition, participants completed a computer game which simulated an infectious disease epidemic in order to provide a measure of social distancing behaviour (Maharaj, McCaldin & Kleczkowski, 2011). The regression analyses revealed that none of the PMT variables were significant predictors of social distancing behaviour during the simulation task. However, fear (β = .218, p<.001), response-efficacy (β = .175, p<.01) and self-efficacy (β = 0.251, p < 0001) were all significant predictors of intention to engage in social distancing behaviour. Overall, the PMT variables (and demographic factors) explain 21.2% of the variance in intention. The findings demonstrated that PMT was a useful framework for understanding intention to engage in social distancing behaviour, but not actual behaviour during the simulated epidemic. These findings may reflect an intention-behaviour gap in relation to social distancing behaviour.

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