Andersson C, Bendtsen M, Molander O, Granlund L, Topooco N, Engström K, Lindfors P, Berman AH
BMC Res Notes 14 (1) 429 [2021-11-25; online 2021-11-25]
During the COVID pandemic, government authorities worldwide have tried to limit the spread of the virus. Sweden's distinctive feature was the use of voluntary public health recommendations. Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of this strategy. Based on data collected in the spring of 2020, this study explored associations between compliance with recommendations and observed symptoms of contagion in others, using self-report data from university students. Compliance with recommendations ranged between 69.7 and 95.7 percent. Observations of moderate symptoms of contagion in "Someone else I have had contact with" and "Another person" were markedly associated with reported self-quarantine, which is the most restrictive recommendation, complied with by 81.2% of participants. Uncertainty regarding the incidence and severity of contagion in cohabitants was markedly associated with the recommendation to avoid public transportation, a recommendation being followed by 69.7%. It is concluded that students largely followed the voluntary recommendations implemented in Sweden, suggesting that coercive measures were not necessary. Compliance with recommendations were associated with the symptoms students saw in others, and with the perceived risk of contagion in the student's immediate vicinity. It is recommended that voluntary recommendations should stress personal relevance, and that close relatives are at risk.