Publication details

Fear, trust, and compliance with COVID-19 measures: a study of the mediating effect of trust in government on the relationship between fear and compliance

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Public Policy
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web article - open access
Keywords COVID-19; fear; public policy compliance; rally-round-the-flag; trust in government
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Description As the COVID-19 pandemic became an unprecedented global threat, it was accompanied by an increase in trust in governments as well as fear among the public. Previous research suggests that both institutional trust and fear contribute to the willingness of citizens to comply with anti-pandemic measures. Moreover, fear during the contagion also increases trust in government. This article presents a test of the mediation of the effects of fear on compliance through trust. In addition, it differentiates between three different facets of COVID-19-related fear: fear of the disease, fear of economic consequences, and fear of political consequences. The results suggest that while fear of the disease increases compliance, fear of political consequences decreases compliance. Moreover, the effects of fear are mediated through trust in government. The negative impact of fear of political consequences on compliance increased between April and December 2020.
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