Compliance with recommended preventive behaviours and restrictions for COVID-19: an exploratory analysis of Italians’ attitudes

Compliance with recommended preventive behaviours and restrictions for COVID-19: an exploratory analysis of Italians’ attitudes

Authors

  • Guido Travaini Department of Medicine, University of Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
  • Emma Flutti Department of Medicine, University of Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano, Italy; Department of Human Neuroscience, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • Lorenzo Blandi Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5244-950X
  • Roberta Sala Department of Philosophy, University of Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
  • Sarah Songhorian Department of Philosophy, University of Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
  • Palmina Caruso Department of Medicine, University of Milano, Milano, Italy
  • Giulia Mugellini Department of Communication Sciences, University of Italian Switzerland (USI), Lugano, Switzerland

Keywords:

rules compliance, mandatory laws, COVID-19, pandemic

Abstract

Background and aim: as a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries all over the world have undertaken wide-scale measures to prevent and limit the spread of the virus. Suggested preventative measures mainly included “lockdown”, social distancing, wearing facemasks, and vaccinations. The success of these measures was widely dependent on the cooperation of citizens. However, people reacted differently to the several types of restrictions and recommendations. Even if the majority followed the rules, others ignored them. This study aims to investigate the reasons for the compliance or violation of the rules developed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.

Methods: to answer the research question, the analysis of two different surveys conducted on a representative sample of Italians (N=2000) were conducted and analysed through descriptive statistics.

Results: the data collection agreed with published literature. Compliance with rules during emergencies followed diligence and altruistic patterns. Fear of sanctions did not seem to work in relation to rules compliance during emergency situations. The lack of clarity of regulations in terms of complexity or constant changes led to non-compliance even intervening as a neutralization technique.

Conclusions: government’s fear-based interventions did not seem to work since Italians tended to adhere to the rules primarily out of respect for legitimate authority. Future research should focus more on the topic of trust in institutions in emergency situations with the aim of highlighting the key points for successful governance, also in terms of rules compliance.

References

Solomon, J N, Gavin, M C, & Gore, M L. Detecting and understanding non-compliance with conservation rules. Biological Conservation 2015, 189, 1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.04.028.

Essler, S, Christner, N, Becher, T, & Paulus, M. The ontogenetic emergence of normativity: How action imitation relates to infants’ norm enforcement. J Exp Child Psychol. 2023 Mar;227:105591. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2022.105591.

Boyd, R, Richerson, P J, & Henrich, J. The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 28;108 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):10918-25. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100290108.

Legare, C H, & Harris, P L. The ontogeny of cultural learning. Child Dev. 2016 May;87(3):633-42. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12542.

Over, H, & Carpenter, M. The social side of imitation. Child development perspectives 2013, 7(1), 6-11. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12006.

Van Kleef, G A, Wanders, F, Stamkou, E, & Homan, A C. The social dynamics of breaking the rules: Antecedents and consequences of norm-violating behavior. Current Opinion in Psychology 2015, 6, 25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.013.

Travaglino, G A, & Moon, C. Compliance and self-reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-cultural study of trust and self-conscious emotions in the United States, Italy, and South Korea. Front Psychol. 2021 Mar 16;12:565845. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.565845.

Redford, P. Self-construal and anger action tendencies in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. In Merging past, present, and future in cross-cultural psychology 2020 (pp. 367- 386). Garland Science. doi: 10.4324/9781003077473-45

Boiger, M, Deyne, S D, & Mesquita, B. Emotions in “the world”: cultural practices, products, and meanings of anger and shame in two individualist cultures. Front Psychol. 2013 Dec 5;4:867. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00867.

Thibaut, J, Friedland, N, & Walker, L. Compliance with rules: Some social determinants. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1974, 30(6), 792. doi: 10.1037/h0037535.

Reynolds, S J, Dang, C T, Yam, K C, & Leavitt, K. The role of moral knowledge in everyday immorality: What does it matter if I know what is right? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2014, 123(2), 124-137. doi: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2013.10.008.

Bicchieri, C, Dimant, E, & Gächter, S. Observability, social proximity, and the erosion of norm compliance 2020. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3576289

Percy, S V, & Sandholtz, W. Why norms rarely die. European Journal of International Relations 2022, 28(4), 934-954. doi: 10.1177/13540661221126018.

Turiel, E. The development of social concepts: Mores, customs, and conventions 1975.

Berti, A E, Guarnaccia, V, & Lattuada, R. Lo sviluppo della nozione di norma giuridica. Scuola e Città, 1997 (12), 532-545.

McKenzie-Mohr, D, Lee, N R, Kotler, P, & Schultz, P W. Social marketing to protect the environment: What works. SAGE publications 2011. doi: 10.4135/9781483349466.

Arias, A. Understanding and managing compliance in the nature conservation context. J Environ Manage. 2015 Apr 15;153:134-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.02.013.

Gore, M L, Knuth, B A, Scherer, C W, & Curtis, P D. Evaluating a conservation investment designed to reduce human–wildlife conflict. Conservation Letters 2008, 1(3), 136-145. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00017.x.

Pollnac, R, Christie, P, Cinner, J E et al. Marine reserves as linked social–ecological systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 26;107(43):18262-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908266107.

Howse, R, & Teitel, R. Beyond compliance: Rethinking why international law really matters. Global Policy 2010, 1(2), 127-136. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-5899.2010.00035.x.

Tyler, T R. Why people obey the law. In Why People Obey the Law 2021. Princeton university press 2021.

Signorelli, C, Scognamiglio, T, & Odone, A. COVID-19 in Italy: impact of containment measures and prevalence estimates of infection in the general population. Acta Biomed. 2020 Apr 10;91(3-S):175-179. doi: 10.23750/abm.v91i3-S.9511.

Choi J, Kim K-H. The Differential Consequences of Fear, Anger, and Depression in Response to COVID-19 in South Korea. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 31;19(11):6723. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19116723.

Demirtaş-Madran, H A. Accepting restrictions and compliance with recommended preventive behaviors for COVID-19: a discussion based on the key approaches and current research on fear appeals. Front Psychol. 2021 Jun 7;12:558437. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.558437.

Travaini, G, Caruso, P, Dickson, M M, Espa, G, & Merzagora, I. Is obedience still a virtue? An Italian research during COVID-19 pandemic. Rassegna Italiana Di Criminologia. 2022, (4), 283-289. doi: 10.7347/RIC-042022-p283.

Jørgensen, F, Bor, A, & Petersen, M B. Compliance without fear: Individual-level protective behaviour during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Br J Health Psychol. 2021 May;26(2):679-696. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12519.

Ruiu, G, & Ruiu, M L. Violation of lockdown norms and peaks in daily number of positive cases to COVID-19 in Italy. Emerald Open Research. 2020 May 13;2:25. doi: 10.35241/emeraldopenres.13699.1.

Briscese, G, Lacetera, N, Macis, M, & Tonin, M. Compliance with covid-19 social- distancing measures in italy: the role of expectations and duration (Vol. 27). Cambridge, MA, USA:: National Bureau of Economic Research 2020.

Badman, R P, Wang, A X, Skrodzki, M et al. Trust in Institutions, Not in Political Leaders, Determines Compliance in COVID-19 Prevention Measures within Societies across the Globe. Behav Sci (Basel). 2022 May 30;12(6):170. doi: 10.3390/bs12060170.

Han, Q, Zheng, B, Cristea, M et al. Trust in government regarding COVID-19 and its associations with preventive health behaviour and prosocial behaviour during the pandemic: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Psychol Med. 2021 Mar 26:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291721001306.

Blandi, L, Sabbatucci, M, Dallagiacoma, G, Alberti, F, Bertuccio, P, Odone, A. Digital Information Approach through Social Media among Gen Z and Millennials: The Global Scenario during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Vaccines (Basel). 2022 Oct 28;10(11):1822. doi: 10.3390/vaccines10111822.

Downloads

Published

30-08-2023

How to Cite

1.
Travaini G, Flutti E, Blandi L, Sala R, Songhorian S, Caruso P, et al. Compliance with recommended preventive behaviours and restrictions for COVID-19: an exploratory analysis of Italians’ attitudes. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2023 Aug. 30 [cited 2024 Jul. 24];94(S3):e2023182. Available from: https://www.mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/actabiomedica/article/view/14431