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Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey

Lieberoth, Andreas; Lin, Shiang-Yi; Stockli, Sabrina; Han, Hyemin; Kowal, Marta; Gelpi, Rebekah; Chrona, Stavroula; Tran, Thao Phuong; Jeftic, Alma; Rasmussen, Jesper; Cakal, Huseyin; Milfont, Taciano L.; Yamada, Yuki; Amin, Rizwana; Debove, Stephane; Flis, Ivan; Sahin, Hafize; Turk, Fidan; Yeh, Yao-Yuan; Ho, Yuen Wan; Sikka, Pilleriin; Delgado-Garcia, Guillermo; Lacko, David; Mamede, Salome; Zerhouni, Oulmann; Tuominen, Jarno; Bircan, Tuba; Wang, Austin Horng-En; Ikizer, Gozde; Lins, Samuel; Studzinska, Anna; Uddin, Muhammad Kamal; Juarez, Fernanda Perez-Gay; Chen, Fang-Yu; Sanli, Aybegum Memisoglu; Lys, Agnieszka E.; Reynoso-Alcantara, Vicenta; Flores Gonzalez, Ruben; Griffin, Amanda M.; Lopez, Claudio Rafael Castro; Nezkusilova, Jana; Cepulic, Dominik-Borna; Aquino, Sibele; Marot, Tiago A.; Blackburn, Angelique M.; Boullu, Lois; Bavolar, Jozef; Kacmar, Pavol; Wu, Charles K. S.; Areias, Joao Carlos; Natividade, Jean C.; Mari, Silvia; Ahmed, Oli; Dranseika, Vilius; Cristofori, Irene;...

Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey Thumbnail


Andreas Lieberoth

Shiang-Yi Lin

Sabrina Stockli

Hyemin Han

Marta Kowal

Rebekah Gelpi

Stavroula Chrona

Thao Phuong Tran

Alma Jeftic

Jesper Rasmussen

Taciano L. Milfont

Yuki Yamada

Rizwana Amin

Stephane Debove

Ivan Flis

Hafize Sahin

Fidan Turk

Yao-Yuan Yeh

Yuen Wan Ho

Pilleriin Sikka

Guillermo Delgado-Garcia

David Lacko

Salome Mamede

Oulmann Zerhouni

Jarno Tuominen

Tuba Bircan

Austin Horng-En Wang

Gozde Ikizer

Samuel Lins

Anna Studzinska

Muhammad Kamal Uddin

Fernanda Perez-Gay Juarez

Fang-Yu Chen

Aybegum Memisoglu Sanli

Agnieszka E. Lys

Vicenta Reynoso-Alcantara

Ruben Flores Gonzalez

Amanda M. Griffin

Claudio Rafael Castro Lopez

Jana Nezkusilova

Dominik-Borna Cepulic

Sibele Aquino

Tiago A. Marot

Angelique M. Blackburn

Lois Boullu

Jozef Bavolar

Pavol Kacmar

Charles K. S. Wu

Joao Carlos Areias

Jean C. Natividade

Silvia Mari

Oli Ahmed

Vilius Dranseika

Irene Cristofori

Tao Coll-Martin

Kristina Eichel

Raisa Kumaga

Eda Ermagan-Caglar

Dastan Bamwesigye

Benjamin Tag

Carlos C. Contreras-Ibanez

John Jamir Benzon R. Aruta

Priyanka A. Naidu

Thao P. Tran

Ilknur Dilekler

Jiri Cenek

Md. Nurul Islam

Brendan Ch'ng

Cristina Sechi

Steve Nebel

Gulden Sayilan

Shruti Jha

Keiko Ihaya

Gautreau Guillaume

Giovanni A. Travaglino

Nikolay R. Rachev

Krzysztof Hanusz

Martin Pirko

J. Noel West

Wilson Cyrus-Lai

Arooj Najmussaqib

Eugenia Romano

Valdas Noreika

Arian Musliu

Emilija Sungailaite

Mehmet Kosa

Antonio G. Lentoor

Nidhi Sinha

Andrew R. Bender

Dar Meshi

Pratik Bhandari

Grace Byrne

Kalina Kalinova

Barbora Hubena

Manuel Ninaus

Carlos Diaz

Carlos Diaz

Alessia Scarpaci

Alessia Scarpaci

Karolina Koszalkowska


The COVIDiSTRESS global survey collects data on early human responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic from 173 429 respondents in 48 countries. The open science study was co-designed by an international consortium of researchers to investigate how psychological responses differ across countries and cultures, and how this has impacted behaviour, coping and trust in government efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Starting in March 2020, COVIDiSTRESS leveraged the convenience of unpaid online recruitment to generate public data. The objective of the present analysis is to understand relationships between psychological responses in the early months of global coronavirus restrictions and help understand how different government measures succeed or fail in changing public behaviour. There were variations between and within countries. Although Western Europeans registered as more concerned over COVID-19, more stressed, and having slightly more trust in the governments' efforts, there was no clear geographical pattern in compliance with behavioural measures. Detailed plots illustrating between-countries differences are provided. Using both traditional and Bayesian analyses, we found that individuals who worried about getting sick worked harder to protect themselves and others. However, concern about the coronavirus itself did not account for all of the variances in experienced stress during the early months of COVID-19 restrictions. More alarmingly, such stress was associated with less compliance. Further, those most concerned over the coronavirus trusted in government measures primarily where policies were strict. While concern over a disease is a source of mental distress, other factors including strictness of protective measures, social support and personal lockdown conditions must also be taken into consideration to fully appreciate the psychological impact of COVID-19 and to understand why some people fail to follow behavioural guidelines intended to protect themselves and others from infection. The Stage 1 manuscript associated with this submission received in-principle acceptance (IPA) on 18 May 2020. Following IPA, the accepted Stage 1 version of the manuscript was preregistered on the Open Science Framework at This preregistration was performed prior to data analysis.


Lieberoth, A., Lin, S., Stockli, S., Han, H., Kowal, M., Gelpi, R., …Koszalkowska, K. (2021). Stress and worry in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic: relationships to trust and compliance with preventive measures across 48 countries in the COVIDiSTRESS global survey. Royal Society Open Science, 8(2), Article ARTN 200589.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 25, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 10, 2021
Publication Date 2021-02
Journal Royal Society Open Science
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Article Number ARTN 200589
Keywords stress, compliance behaviour, worry, social psychology, COVID-19, trust
Publisher URL


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