Rationale/objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought far-reaching consequences on individual and societal levels. Social distancing and physical hygiene constitute effective public health measures to limit the spread of the virus. This study investigated age and gender demographics, in tandem with national levels of human development, as crucial factors influencing self-reported compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures. Methods: The present study leveraged a large multi-national sample that ranged across the adult lifespan (18–100 years) and comprised 45,772 women and men from 66 countries/territories. Data were collected in Spring (2020) during the earlier phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-reports of compliance with two public health measures (spatial distancing and physical hygiene) were assessed via online survey. Human Development Index (HDI), developed by the United Nations Development Program, was used as a proxy of a country's achievement in key dimensions of human development. Results: Older age, female gender, and lower HDI were independently associated with greater self-reported compliance. A significant three-way interaction further revealed that self-reported compliance was lowest in young males from well-developed countries, while highest among females across all ages from less-developed countries. Conclusion: The study offers an integration of individual-level and country-level demographic predictors of self-reported compliance and allows for robust testing in a large multi-national adult lifespan sample for enhanced generalizability. The results highlight the potential of data-driven, tailored (i.e., towards specific demographics, countries) health campaigns and public policies in the fight against a global pandemic.
- Human development index
- Public health measures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science