Perceptions, concerns and reported behaviours in response to the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australian communities

Article


Argus, Geoff, Walker, Clara, Baratiny, Genevieve, Cotter, Nicola and Fallon, Tony. 2022. "Perceptions, concerns and reported behaviours in response to the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australian communities." Australian Journal of Rural Health. 30 (3), pp. 352-362. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajr.12842
Article Title

Perceptions, concerns and reported behaviours in response to the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australian communities

ERA Journal ID13436
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsArgus, Geoff, Walker, Clara, Baratiny, Genevieve, Cotter, Nicola and Fallon, Tony
Journal TitleAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Journal Citation30 (3), pp. 352-362
Number of Pages11
Year2022
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN1038-5282
1440-1584
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/ajr.12842
Web Address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ajr.12842
Abstract

Objective: To investigate coronavirus disease 2019 community transmission concerns and adherence to social distancing and hygiene practices across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas in Australia.

Design: Cross-sectional online survey of Australian adults conducted between April and May 2020 through convenience snowball sampling.

Setting: A range of locations across all states and territories of Australia.

Participants: Six hundred and seventy-seven Australian adults, of which 78.8% lived outside of a metropolitan area.

Main outcome measures: Perceived threat of coronavirus disease 2019; social distancing guidelines and adherence; infection concerns; hygiene practices; frequency of leaving the house; impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on day-to-day life.

Results: Almost all respondents perceived the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic was serious. There were high levels of support for the Australian Government's social distancing guidelines, although the perception that social distancing guidelines in participants’ communities were ‘too strict’ increased with remoteness area classification. Most respondents reported adherence with Australian Government social distancing guidelines. There was an association between remoteness and risk perception, with non-metropolitan respondents more likely to feel safe when leaving the house. However, there was no association between geographical remoteness and self-reported adherence with Australian Government social distancing guidelines.

Conclusions: This study provides an important initial insight into Australian perceptions and behaviours relating to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, and how perceptions and behaviours varied by geographical remoteness. The geographical remoteness of communities should be considered by policy makers to ensure effective communication with the Australian public regarding coronavirus disease 2019 and ongoing adherence with preventative health behaviours.

Keywordscoronavirus; COVID-19; pandemic; risk perception; rural health
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420603. Health promotion
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

FunderDepartment of Health, Australian Government
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
University of Southern Queensland
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