Håkansson A, Claesdotter E
Heliyon - (-) e08699 [2021-12-29; online 2021-12-29]
Following the immense impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and everyday lives world-wide, people's fear of COVID-19 has been studied in a number of settings using the Fear of COVID scale. In Sweden, virus-preventing strategies have differed from comparable countries, with low use of formal lock-down procedures. It is crucial to study correlates of non-compliance with COVID-19 recommendations, and unwillingness to become vaccinated. This study aims to study whether fear of COVID is associated with mental distress and attitudes towards the pandemic, and to study correlates of non-compliance with key anti-COVID recommendations and with reluctancy to vaccination. This anonymous online survey study in web panel participants (N=1,501) aimed to study a range of behavioral changes during COVID-19. Recommendations and vaccinations reluctancy were analyzed in logistic regressions against socio-demographic data, COVID-19 status, and mental health history. Internal consistency of the Fear of COVID scale was calculated. The Fear of COVID scale had a satisfactory internal consistency (Cronbach-alpha 0.84), and was significantly associated with compliance with all COVID-19 recommendations and with mental health. Non-compliance with recommendations was associated with low fear of disease and younger age, among other variables. Being against vaccination was associated, among other variables, with low fear of disease and with low education. In conclusion, the Fear of COVID scale appears to be associated with key attitudes towards the COVID-19 disease. Anti-virus strategies may need to promote compliance with recommendations in subgroups who feel low fear of disease or who believe not to be in a risk group for severe disease.