Cross-country differences in anxiety and behavioral response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Authors: Zafer Buyukkececi,
Issue: 2020
Link to Publication (External Site)

This research uses the COVID-19 Attitudes and Beliefs survey to look at the anxiety levels and behaviour responses of nearly 100,000 people in 54 countries during March 20 2020 and May 21 2020. It goes on to link the findings to the economic preferences and development of those countries.

Findings show that women were more anxious than men during the period they were asked about and that they were also more proactive in adopting behaviours such as regular hand washing and social distancing, something the researcher suggests could be due to socially constructed differences between men and women such as caring for the young, elderly, and sick within the family.

People who were single or divorced felt less nervous than those who were married or cohabiting. Couples were more proactive than singles, across all the measures looked at.

Anxiety was less common among people from more patient and developed countries, and more common in altruistic societies. Countries with higher levels of positive reciprocity and trust, took more precautions.

The researcher points out that co-operation is crucial to containing the spread of the disease and that the analysis shines a light on the role of countries and their contexts on levels of co-operation in achieving that.