2023 journal article
A Precautionary Tale: Individual Decision Making in the Time of COVID-19
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Precaution taking is an important part of managing COVID-19 and has been since the start of the pandemic. Guided by the Health Belief Model, two studies conducted during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic aimed to identify possible individual difference predictors of precautionary actions. Study 1 was an online, cross-sectional study using 763 adults aged 20–79 years old. Study 2, a 30-day daily diary study, examined daily precautions in 261 persons over the age of 55 years old. Study 1 and Study 2 indicated that COVID-19 knowledge predicted precautionary behaviors. Multilevel models from Study 2 indicated that daily increases in in-person interactions and leaving home were associated with decreases in precautions, but increases in disruption to routine were associated with increases in precautions. In both studies, including concurrent and lagged models in Study 2, significant interactions between information seeking and perceived risk suggested higher information seeking was related to higher precautions for those who consider themselves low risk. Findings highlight the burden of daily precautions and potentially modifiable factors of engagement in precautions.