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Do you trust other people to follow the corona guidelines?

September 25th, 2020


A new study of Danes’ experience of the corona crisis shows that 81 percent of Danes are concerned about other people’s behavior in relation to following the corona guidelines. However, most Danes themselves believe that they are good at following them. This is the result of a new survey from Moos-Bjerre and Userneeds.

A new survey conducted by Userneeds in collaboration with the analysis and consulting company Moos-Bjerre shows that several Danes themselves believe that they follow the authorities’ corona guidelines. 73 percent of Danes answer that they keep greater physical distance from people, 69 percent wash their hands more often, and 65 percent avoid unnecessary contact with other people. The Danes are thus of the conviction that they themselves are good at following the guidelines during the corona crisis. However, they do not trust that other people follow these guidelines.

It turns out that 81 percent of the Danes are concerned about whether others adequately follow the guidelines. Michael Bang Petersen, professor of political science at Aarhus University, who researches how general concern about infection can affect our behavior towards strangers, says: “The special thing about the corona pandemic is that what we are worried about is not so much to become infected ourself, but rather what the consequences of rising infection rates have for hospitals, for the economy and for the welfare society’s ability to help vulnerable groups. So, much of the concern is not about ourselves, but about society.”

Michael Bang Petersen believes that the need for control is an explanation for the growing insecurity. He says: “There is a focus on what other people are doing because it is their behavior that affects the things we care about the most. We can take precautions ourselves and take control of whether we ourselves become infected, but when it comes to others, we only have the opportunity to influence their behavior by shaming and acting corona police.”

The result from the survey shows that there has been an increase of 12 percentage points since April in the part of Danes who are concerned about other people following the corona guidelines.

Anders Colding-Jørgensen, behavioral psychologist and lecturer, does not think the Danes’ concern about other people’s behavior is surprising: “Our well-being is highly dependent on what other people do. Corona measures only work if we all take this into account in some way.”

According to Michael Bang Petersen, the biggest danger is not that the Danes are more worried, but rather how the individual handles the feeling of uncertainty about other people’s behavior. He believes that you can easily feel ashamed if you become infected.

You can read much more in the article from the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad here.