05.02.2022 New Publication in Personality and Individual Differences

Sensitive attitudes and adherence to recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic: Comparing direct and indirect questioning techniques.

Authors: Tabea H. Kaufmann, Lau Lilleholt, Robert Böhm, Ingo Zettler, & Daniel W. Heck


During the COVID-19 pandemic, various behavioral measures were imposed to curb the spread of the virus. In a preregistered study based on a quota-representative sample of adult Danish citizens (N = 1,031), we compared the prevalence estimates of self-reported handwashing, physical distancing, and attitudes toward the behavioral measures between people surveyed with a direct and an indirect questioning approach (i.e., the crosswise model). Moreover, we investigated two possible predictors of sensitive behaviors and attitudes, namely empathy for people vulnerable to the virus and Honesty-Humility from the HEXACO Model of Personality. We also examined the interaction of both predictors with the questioning format. Survey participants reported more violation of guidelines regarding handwashing and physical distancing when asked indirectly rather than directly, whereas attitudes regarding the behavioral measures did not differ between the two questioning formats. Respondents with less empathy for people vulnerable to COVID-19 reported more violations of handwashing and physical-distancing, and those low on Honesty-Humility reported more violations of physical distancing.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2022.111525

Preprint: https://psyarxiv.com/tp6ja