Background: Research suggests that preventive measures are critical to reducing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but evidence regarding the association between trust in government and the practice of preventive measures is limited.
Objective: To examine whether the practice of preventive measures against COVID-19 differs by one's level of trust in government.
Design: A cross-sectional analysis using the Japan COVID-19 and Society Internet Survey (JACSIS) conducted in August and September 2020.
Participants: A nationally representative sample of Japanese individuals aged 15 through 79 years.
Main measures: The primary outcome was the composite score for COVID-19 preventive measures, defined as the percentage of preventive measures an individual reported to be practicing (out of nine measures: social distancing, wearing masks, avoiding closed spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, avoiding close contact settings, hand washing, avoiding touching one's face, respiratory hygiene, and surface disinfection). The secondary outcomes were (1) support for stay-at-home requests, (2) use of a contact-tracing app, and (3) receipt of the influenza vaccine in the previous season.
Key results: Our analysis included a total of 25,482 individuals. After adjusting for potential confounders, we found that individuals with high trust in government were likely to practice preventive measures more frequently compared to those with low trust (adjusted composite scores, 83.8% for high- vs. 79.5% for low-trust individuals; adjusted difference, +4.3 percentage points [pp]; 95% CI, +2.4 to +6.2pp; P<0.001). We also found that high trust in government was associated with higher likelihoods of support for stay-at-home requests, use of a contact-tracing app, and receipt of the influenza vaccine in the previous season.
Conclusions: High trust in government was associated with a higher intensity of practicing COVID-19 preventive measures among Japanese individuals at the national level. Our findings may provide useful information to develop and design effective public health interventions.
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; trust in government.
© 2021. Society of General Internal Medicine.