This research study suggests that to increase compliance with social distancing guidelines, messages should focus on young people and address their negative affect, refocus their self-orientation, and target specific rationales.
After analyzing thousands of responses as to why people are non-compliant with social distancing recommendations, researchers found seven common themes: non-essential work, mental and physical health, taking sufficient precautions, non-essential activities, society over-reacting, childcare-related, and government-related. To address these common themes, the following messaging strategies are offered to increase compliance:
- Non-essential work: convey support and communicate necessity of remote work solutions to employers
- Mental and physical health: recognize hardships and identify safe well-being activities
- Taking sufficient precautions: explain why stronger measures are required and communicate the norms of compliance
- Non-essential activities: provide clarity on what activities are essential
- Society over-reacting: emphasize the danger to all if society is compromised
- Childcare-related: construct parent-specific recommendations
- Government-related: develop consistent messaging from federal, state, and local levels of government
By implementing these suggestions, public health policy and communication of COVID-19 social distancing measures may be better tailored to maximize compliance.