Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: Relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey

The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early humanresponses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173 429respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers toinvestigate how psychological responses differ across countriesand cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, coping andtrust in government efforts to slow the spread of the virus.© 2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the CreativeCommons Attribution License, which permitsunrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited. Downloaded from on 15 October 2021Starting in March 2020, COVIDiSTRESS leveraged the convenience of unpaid online recruitment to generatepublic data. The objective of the present analysis is to understand relationships between psychologicalresponses in the early months of global coronavirusrestrictions and help understand how differentgovernment measures succeed or fail in changing public behaviour. There were variations between andwithin countries. Although Western Europeans registered as more concerned over COVID-19, morestressed, and having slightly more trust in the governments’efforts, there was no clear geographicalpattern in compliance with behavioural measures. Detailed plots illustrating between-countries differencesare provided. Using both traditional and Bayesian analyses, we found that individuals who worriedabout getting sick worked harder to protect themselves and others. However, concern about thecoronavirusitselfdidnotaccountforallofthevariances in experienced stress during the early months ofCOVID-19 restrictions. More alarmingly, such stress was associated with less compliance. Further, thosemost concerned over the coronavirus trusted in government measures primarily where policies werestrict. While concern over a disease is a source of mental distress, other factors including strictness of protective measures, social support and personal lockdown conditions must also be taken intoconsideration to fully appreciate the psychological impact of COVID-19 and to understand why some people fail to follow behavioural guidelines intended to protect themselves and others from infection. TheStage 1 manuscript associated with this submission received in-principle acceptance (IPA) on 18 May2020. Following IPA, the accepted Stage 1 version of the manuscript was preregistered on the OpenScience Framework at This preregistration was performed prior to data analysis.
Royal Society Open Science


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Citation Formats
A. Memişoğlu Sanlı, “Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: Relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey,” Royal Society Open Science, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 1–33, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: