Public acceptance of Covid‐19 lockdown scenarios

Mario Gollwitzer, Christine Platzer, Clarissa Zwarg, Anja S. Göritz
Published Online:
29 Oct 2020

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By mid‐March 2020, most countries had implemented nationwide lockdown policies aimed at decelerating the spread of SARS‐CoV‐2. At that time, nobody knew how long these policies would have to remain in force and whether they would have to be extended, intensified or made more flexible. The present study aimed to illuminate how the general public in Germany reacted to the prospect of increasing the length, the intensity and/or the flexibility of distancing rules implied by different lockdown scenarios. Endorsement of and compliance with five specific lockdown scenarios were assessed in a large (N = 14,433) German sample. Results showed that lockdown length affected respondents' reactions much more strongly than intensity or flexibility. Additional analyses (i.e., mixture distribution modelling) showed that half of the respondents rejected any further extensions or intensifications, while 20% would endorse long‐term strategies if necessary. We argue that policy‐makers and political communicators should take the public's endorsement of and compliance with such scenarios into account, as should simulations predicting the effects of different lockdown scenarios.

© International Union of Psychological Science