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Factors associated with wearing a facemask in shops in England following removal of a legal requirement to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic

Smith, Louise E; West, Robert; Potts, Henry WW; Amlôt, Richard; Fear, Nicola T; Rubin, G James; Michie, Susan; (2023) Factors associated with wearing a facemask in shops in England following removal of a legal requirement to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. British Journal of Health Psychology 10.1111/bjhp.12684. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to identify psychological factors associated with the use of facemasks in shops in England following removal of legal requirements to do so, and to compare associations with and without legal restrictions. DESIGN: Repeated cross-sectional online surveys (n ≈ 2000 adults) between August 2020 and April 2022 (68,716 responses from 45,682 participants) using quota sampling. METHODS: The outcome measure was whether those who had visited a shop for essentials in the previous seven days reported always having worn a facemask versus sometimes or not at all. Psychological predictor variables included worry, perceived risk and severity of COVID-19 and the perceived effectiveness of facemasks. Socio-demographic variables and measures of clinical vulnerability were also measured. For the period following removal of legal restrictions, multivariable regression was used to assess associations between the primary outcome variable and predictors adjusting for socio-demographic and clinical vulnerability measures. The analysis was repeated including interactions between psychological predictors and presence versus absence of legal restrictions. RESULTS: Worry about COVID-19, beliefs about risks and severity of COVID-19 and effectiveness of facemasks were substantially and independently associated with the use of facemasks. Removal of legal obligations to wear facemasks was associated with a 25% decrease in wearing facemasks and stronger associations between psychological predictors and wearing facemasks. CONCLUSIONS: Legal obligations increase rates of wearing a facemask. Psychological factors associated with wearing a facemask could be targets for interventions aiming to alter rates of wearing a facemask. These interventions may be more effective when there are no legal obligations to wear a face covering in place.

Type: Article
Title: Factors associated with wearing a facemask in shops in England following removal of a legal requirement to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12684
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12684
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: COVID-19, adherence, facemasks, infectious disease, pandemic management, protective behaviours, public health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > CHIME
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174828
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