Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: Relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey

Andreas Lieberoth, Shiang Yi Lin, Sabrina Stöckli, Hyemin Han, Marta Kowal, Rebekah Gelpi, Stavroula Chrona, Thao Phuong Tran, Alma Jeftic, Jesper Rasmussen, Huseyin Cakal, Yuki Yamada, Rizwana Amin, Ivan Flis, Stephane Debove, Hafize Sahin, Fidan Turk, Guillermo Delgado-Garcia, Yao Yuan Yeh, Yuen Wan HoPilleriin Sikka, David Lacko, Salome Mamede, Oulmann Zerhouni, Jarno Tuominen, Tuba Bircan Austin, Horng En Wang, Gozde Ikizer, Samuel Lins Anna Studzinska, Muhammad Kamal Uddin, Fernanda Perez Gay Juarez Fang Yu Chen, Marta Kowal Aybegum, Memisoglu Sanli, Memisoglu Sanli Agnieszka E. Lys, Ruben Flores Gonzalez, Vicenta Reynoso Alcantara, Amanda Griffin, Claudio Rafael, Castro Lopez, Jana Nezkusilova, Dominik Borna Cepulic, Sibele Aquino, Tiago A. Marot, Angelique M. Blackburn, Lois Boullu, Jozef Bavolar, Pavol Kacmar, Charles K.S. Wu, Carlos Areias Joao, Jean C. Natividade, Silvia Mari, Vilius Dranseika, Oli Ahmed, Irene Cristofori, Tao Coil-Martin, Kristina Eichel, Raisa Kumaga, Eda Ermagan Caglar, Dastan Bamwesigye, Benjamin Tag, Carlos C. Contreras-Lbanez, John Jamir, Benzon R. Aruta, Priyanka A. Naidu, Ilknur Dilekler, Jin Cenek, Md Nurul Islam, Brendan Ch'ng, Cristina Sechi, Steve Nebel, Gulden Sayilan, Shruti Jha, Sara Vestergren, Keiko Lhaya, Gautreau Guillaume, Giovanni A. Travaglino, Nikolay R. Rachev, Krzysztof Hanusz, Martin Pirko, J. Noel West, Wilson Cyrus-Lai, Arooj Najmussaqib, Eugenia Romano, Valdas Noreika, Arian Musliu, Emilija Sungailaite, Mehmet Kosa, Antonio G. Lentoor, Nidhi Sinha, Andrew R. Bender, Dar Meshi, Pratik Bhandari, Grace Byrne, Kalina Kalinova, Barbora Hubena, Manuel Ninaus, Carlos Diaz Alessia Scarpaci, Karolina Koszatkowska, Daniel Pankowski, Teodora Yaneva, Sara Morales Izquierdo, Ena Uzelac, Yookyung Lee, Dayana Hristova, Moh Abdul Hakim, Eliane Deschrijver, Phillip S. Kavanagh, Aya Shata, Cecilia Reyna, Gabriel A.De Leon, Franco Tisocco, Taciano L. Milfont, Maor Shani, Debora Jeanette Mola, Samkelisiwe Mahlungulu, Daphna Hausman Ozery, Marjolein C.J. Caniels, Pablo Sebastian Correa, Maria Victoria Ortiz, Roosevelt Vilar, Tsvetelina Makaveeva, Lotte Pummerer, Irina Nikolova, Mila Bujic, Zea Szebeni, Tiziana Pennato Mihaela Taranu, Liz Martinez, Tereza Capelos Anabel Belaus, Dmitrii Dubrov

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The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early human responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173 429 respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers to investigate how psychological responses differ across countries and cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, coping and trust in government efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Starting in March 2020, COVIDiSTRESS leveraged the convenience of unpaid online recruitment to generate public data. The objective of the present analysis is to understand relationships between psychological responses in the early months of global coronavirus restrictions and help understand how different government measures succeed or fail in changing public behaviour. There were variations between and within countries. Although Western Europeans registered as more concerned over COVID-19, more stressed, and having slightly more trust in the governments' efforts, there was no clear geographical pattern in compliance with behavioural measures. Detailed plots illustrating between-countries differences are provided. Using both traditional and Bayesian analyses, we found that individuals who worried about getting sick worked harder to protect themselves and others. However, concern about the coronavirus itself did not account for all of the variances in experienced stress during the early months of COVID-19 restrictions. More alarmingly, such stress was associated with less compliance. Further, those most concerned over the coronavirus trusted in government measures primarily where policies were strict. While concern over a disease is a source of mental distress, other factors including strictness of protective measures, social support and personal lockdown conditions must also be taken into consideration to fully appreciate the psychological impact of COVID-19 and to understand why some people fail to follow behavioural guidelines intended to protect themselves and others from infection. The Stage 1 manuscript associated with this submission received in-principle acceptance (IPA) on 18 May 2020. Following IPA, the accepted Stage 1 version of the manuscript was preregistered on the Open Science Framework at This preregistration was performed prior to data analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200589
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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