The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, caused governments and researchers around the globe to follow two main routes in order to address the crisis and reduce effective reproduction numbers of the virus: (1) impose restrictions, closures and emergency regulations, and (2) search for a vaccine and effective medications.
The new study follows a third route, that focuses on individuals’ attitudes and the development of health promoting motivations of the public. The researchers show how to achieve enhanced adherence to health regulations without externally imposed coercion. To this aim they combine three elements: (i) Indirect Measurements, (ii) Personalized interventions, and (iii) Attitude Changing Treatments (IMPACT). The study shows that a cluster of short interventions, such as elaboration on possible consequences, induction of cognitive dissonance, addressing next of kin and similar others and receiving advice following severity judgements, improves individuals’ health-preserving attitudes.
The process is administered via the internet, allowing participants to respond to an assortment of short and simple tasks by using cell phones or computers. Data collected from over 3,000 participants residing in various countries reveals the efficiency of the method and its capacity to improve COVID19 health-preserving attitudes.
The researchers propose extending the use of this approach under closure periods and during the resumption of social and economic activities under the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the world currently sees some of the largest daily increases in coronavirus cases, personal health-preserving attitudes are critical in stopping the spread of the pandemic.
The research was conducted by an international group of researchers from: The University of Haifa (Israel), Princeton University (USA), Adam Mickiewicz University, (Poland), Technical University of Munich (Germany) and the University of Cologne (German).