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Compliance in crisis: Concern, trust and distrustful complacency in the COVID‐19 pandemic

Lalot, Fanny, Abrams, Dominic, Jessop, Curtis, Curtice, John (2023) Compliance in crisis: Concern, trust and distrustful complacency in the COVID‐19 pandemic. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 17 (7). Article Number e12752. ISSN 1751-9004. (doi:10.1111/spc3.12752) (KAR id:100918)


Two studies tested a distrustful complacency hypothesis, according to which either concern or political trust would be enough to sustain law‐abiding attitudes and compliance with health‐protective policies during the COVID‐19 pandemic; but the absence of both concern and trust would result in markedly lower support and compliance. Study 1 supported this hypothesis with NatCen nationally representative sample of Great Britain (N = 2413; weighted regression analyses), focussing on law‐abiding attitudes. Study 2 (preregistered) replicated these findings with a representative sample (N = 1523) investigating support for COVID‐19 policies and compliant behaviour. Participants who were less concerned about the consequences of the pandemic (for themselves and for others) and simultaneously less trustful of the government expressed weaker law‐abiding attitudes and reported less compliance with COVID‐19 restrictions. These findings have implications for policy and public health strategies in time of crisis.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/spc3.12752
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: concern, compliance, COVID‐19, distrustful complacency, health‐protective behaviour, pandemic, political trust
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: UK Research and Innovation (
Nuffield Foundation (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2023 14:04 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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