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Psychol Belg ; 63(1): 1-15, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2202678


To limit the spread of COVID-19, public authorities have recommended sanitary behaviors such as handwashing, mask-wearing, physical distancing, and social distancing. We recruited a large sample of higher education students in Belgium (N = 3201-3441) to investigate the role of sociodemographic variables, mental health, previous COVID-19 infections, academic involvement, and risk perception on adherence to these sanitary behaviors. This cross-sectional study took place during the second COVID-19 wave in Belgium, between February and March 2021. Analyses showed that living alone, being female, later in the academic curriculum, having higher general and health anxiety, higher academic involvement, and higher risk perception were positively associated with adherence to the four aforementioned sanitary behaviors. Conversely, previous infection with COVID-19 and having been quarantined were negative predictors. Our results show a set of predictors highly similar for the four sanitary behaviors. We discuss potential initiatives to increase adherence to sanitary behaviors in this group of highly educated youngsters.

Health Psychol Behav Med ; 10(1): 855-870, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2031986


BACKGROUND: Using a longitudinal design, we investigate how the adherence to handwashing and its underlying socio-psychological predictors evolved over time during the COVID-19 pandemic and under distinct circumstances (e.g. when the crisis was more acute or chronic). METHOD: We collected data (N = 753) in Belgium and France at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when the crisis was at its peak (April 2020), and almost a year later (February 2021), when the outbreak was more manageable. RESULTS: Regression models suggest that the compliance with handwashing and its pattern of underlying predictors remained remarkably stable over time despite the variations in contextual factors such as the severity of the health crisis and the stringency of health measures. As such, the findings also highlight the robustness of the models that predict it, namely the Theory of Planned Behavior. The intentions to perform the behavior, the perceived control over it, and being part of the (para)medical field were among the strongest predictors. CONCLUSIONS: In practice, the stability of the underlying factors suggests a set of action levers that can be used in communication campaigns aimed at fostering its adherence throughout the pandemic.

J Health Psychol ; 27(14): 3097-3105, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745540


The objective of the current research was to investigate how a series of psychological factors may underlie two COVID-19 health behaviors, and how a contextual factor (country of residence) could shape their influence. Cross-sectional results from the first pandemic wave (NBelgium = 4878, NFrance = 1071) showed that handwashing and social contacts limitation are predicted by a unique set of psychological variables that holds across Belgium and France, despite their distinct lockdown-policies strictness. In practice, policy-makers could leverage on these unique predictors and fine-tune their strategies accordingly to promote adherence to each measure while generalizing it across similar nations.

COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Belgium/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Health Behavior
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0258320, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502065


The COVID-19 pandemic presents a global crisis and authorities have encouraged the population to promote preventive health behaviors to slow the spread of the virus. While the literature on psychological factors influencing health behaviors during the COVID-19 is flourishing, there is a lack of cross-national research focusing on multiple health behaviors. The present study overcomes this limitation and affords a validation of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as a conceptual framework for explaining the adoption of handwashing and limitation of social contacts, two health behaviors that highly differ in their nature. Specifically, we compare TPB model on these two protective behaviors among people living in Belgium (N = 3744) and France (N = 1060) during the COVID-19 sanitary crisis. Data were collected from March 18 until April 19, 2020, which corresponds to the spring lockdown and the first peak of the pandemic in these countries. Results indicated that more positive attitudes, greater social norms, increased perceived control and higher intentions were related to higher adherence to handwashing and limitation of social contacts, for both Belgian and French residents. Ultimately, we argued that the TPB model tends to manifest similarly across countries in explaining health behaviors, when comparing handwashing and limitation of social contacts among individuals living in different national contexts.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Behavior , Social Behavior , Adult , Belgium/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Female , France/epidemiology , Hand Disinfection , Health Communication , Humans , Intention , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , Psychological Theory , SARS-CoV-2