This chapter will explore psychological and demographic influences on citizens’ ability to enact protective health behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such behaviours include social distancing and hygienic practices that have been recommended across the globe to reduce the spread of infection from the coronavirus. Such behaviours represent a seismic change in usual social behaviour and have been particularly difficult to adopt under urgent circumstances. However, human behaviour is the essential driver of the rate and spread of infection. Using evidence from a large-scale longitudinal survey conducted throughout the pandemic in the UK, this chapter explores protective behaviours in relation to the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model of behaviour change, which presents a framework for understanding the influences on behaviour. We will illustrate how the components of the COM-B model can inform behaviour change interventions and the importance of the role of anxiety in shaping behavioural responses to the pandemic.
Part of the book: Anxiety, Uncertainty, and Resilience During the Pandemic Period