Measuring European Attitudes on Complying With Health Policies
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Measuring European Attitudes on Complying With Health Policies

BOCCONI, WITH CERSAS AND COVID CRISIS LAB, IS PART OF A PROJECT LAUNCHED BY THE HAMBURG CENTER FOR HEALTH ECONOMICS

The Covid-19 pandemic offers an historic opportunity for social and political scientists to study behavioral response to a global health emergency. To what extent does the population comply with political decisions on social distancing, and adhering to World Health Organization recommendations? To answer these and other questions, the Hamburg Center for Health Economics has launched a survey of 7,500 people in seven European countries carried out by Bocconi University, the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management, the University of Hamburg and the Nova School of Business and Economics. The project in being conducted within ETN (European Training Network) framework, in which Hamburg, Bocconi and other universities are partners.
 
Called “Countering COVID-19: A European survey on acceptability and commitment to preventive measures,” the first wave of fieldwork took place from April 2 to April 15 using an online questionnaire addressing such issues as people’s risk perceptions, support of containment policies, trust in information, worries, vaccination attitudes, and prevention behavior. The second wave is ongoing, and two more are planned for September and November, taking snapshots of how attitudes progressed over time.
 
“I was surprised by the variation of attitudes across countries for attitudes towards organizations like WHO. There are countries that trust much more the WHO than others,” said Aleksandra Torbica, Director of Bocconi’s Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CERGAS) and Associate Professor at the Department of Social and Political Sciences.
 
For example, people in Denmark have the highest level of trust in the WHO in Europe, while France and Germany have the lowest. Attitudes also varied greatly when people were asked if they were worried about unemployment: 51% were “not worried at all” in the Netherlands, 49% in France, 35% in the UK, and only 20% in Italy.
 
Adherence to the WHO guideline on social distancing was slightly more uniform across the seven countries surveyed but still showed variations. In Italy, the first country in Europe to be hit by the virus, 73% said they “fully adhered” to the one-meter-apart guideline. In the Netherlands, it was 67%, in Germany 59% and just 54% in Denmark.

by Jennifer Clark

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