Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Professor of Public Health



+44 (0)20 7594 3303h.ward Website




158Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus






BibTex format

author = {Atchison, CJ and Bowman, L and Vrinten, C and Redd, R and Pristera, P and Eaton, JW and Ward, H},
doi = {10.1101/2020.04.01.20050039},
publisher = {medRxiv},
title = {Perceptions and behavioural responses of the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey of UK Adults},
url = {},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Objective: To examine risk perceptions and behavioural responses of the UK adult population during the early phase of the COVID-19 epidemic in the UK. Design: A cross-sectional survey Setting: Conducted with a nationally representative sample of UK adults within 48 hours of the UK Government advising the public to stop non-essential contact with others and all unnecessary travel. Participants: 2,108 adults living in the UK aged 18 years and over. Data were collected between March 17 and 18 2020. Main outcome measures: Descriptive statistics for all survey questions, including the number of respondents and the weighted percentages. Logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic variation in: (1) adoption of social-distancing measures, (2) ability to work from home, and (3) willingness and (4) ability to self-isolate. Results Overall, 1,992 (94.2%) respondents reported taking at least one preventive measure: 85.8% washed their hands with soap more frequently; 56.5% avoided crowded areas and 54.5% avoided social events. Adoption of social-distancing measures was higher in those aged over 70 compared to younger adults aged 18 to 34 years (aOR:1.9; 95% CI:1.1 to 3.4). Those with the lowest household income were six times less likely to be able to work from home (aOR:0.16; 95% CI:0.09 to 0.26) and three times less likely to be able to self-isolate (aOR:0.31; 95% CI:0.16 to 0.58). Ability to self-isolate was also lower in black and minority ethnic groups (aOR:0.47; 95% CI:0.27 to 0.82). Willingness to self-isolate was high across all respondents. Conclusions The ability to adopt and comply with certain NPIs is lower in the most economically disadvantaged in society. Governments must implement appropriate social and economic policies to mitigate this. By incorporating these differences in NPIs among socio-economic subpopulations into mathematical models of COVID-19 transmission dynamics, our modelling of epidemic outcomes and response to COVID-19 can be improved.
AU - Atchison,CJ
AU - Bowman,L
AU - Vrinten,C
AU - Redd,R
AU - Pristera,P
AU - Eaton,JW
AU - Ward,H
DO - 10.1101/2020.04.01.20050039
PB - medRxiv
PY - 2020///
TI - Perceptions and behavioural responses of the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey of UK Adults
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ER -