An experimental COVID-19 messaging study in a representative sample of the Scottish population: Increasing physical distancing intentions through self-efficacy

Chantal den Daas* (Corresponding Author), Marie Johnston, Gill Hubbard, Diane Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objectives
Self-efficacy is important for adherence to transmission-reducing behaviours (e.g., physical distancing) as also shown in the CHARIS project. We aimed to show that a theory-based short message can increase physical distancing self-efficacy and intentions to keep physical distance.
Design
Structured telephone surveys with a randomly selected nationally representative sample of adults in Scotland (N = 497).
Methods
Participants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions: message condition (short message to increase self-efficacy via vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion and emotional arousal) or control condition (no message). Followed by measures for self-efficacy and intention for physical distancing on 4-point scales. Adherence to physical distancing was assessed on a 5-point frequency scale (never – always).
Results
Using mediation analyses with bootstrapping procedures, we first confirmed that self-efficacy was associated indirectly with adherence, via higher intentions in a partial mediation (unstandardized indirect effect .21, 958–.25). The message increased self-efficacy; participants receiving the message reported higher self-efficacy (M = 4.23, SD = .80) compared to participants in the control condition (M = 4.08, SD = .77; standardized regression coefficient = .19, p 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-450
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Volume28
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We are grateful to all the participants of the Scottish Health Council (SHC) Public Engagement Group and the NHS Research Scotland Primary Care Patient and Public Involvement. CHARIS was funded via a grant from the Chief Scientist Office, Edinburgh (COV/ABN/20/07).

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Keywords

  • adherence
  • COVID-19
  • intentions
  • messaging
  • physical distancing
  • self-efficacy

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