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Mapping public health responses with attitude networks: the emergence of opinion-based groups in the UK’s early COVID-19 response phase

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posted on 2022-12-13, 14:58 authored by Paul J. Maher, Pádraig MacCarron, MICHAEL QUAYLEMICHAEL QUAYLE
Partisan patterns of compliance with public health measures are a feature of early COVID-19responses. In many cases, these differences in behaviour relate to pre-existing group identities. However, in times of rapid societal change, novel opinion-based groups can emerge and provide a new basis for partisan identification and divergent collective behaviour. Here, we use network methods to map the emergence of opposing opinion based groups and assess their implications for public health behaviour. In a longitudinal study, we tracked public health attitudes and self-reported behaviour ina sample of UK participants over four time points. Network visualisation reveal a rift in attitudinal alignment over time and the genesisof twodistinct groups characterised by trust,ordistrust, in science (Study1a; N = 253). These groups also diverge in public health behaviour. In a brief follow-up study (N = 206),we find that this opinion polarization partially reflects underlying societal divides. We discuss implications for opinion-based group research and public health campaigns

Funding

Study on Aerodynamic Characteristics Control of Slender Body Using Active Flow Control Technique

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

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History

Publication

British Journal of Social Psychology;

Publisher

Wiley

Note

peer-reviewed

Other Funding information

ERC

Language

English

Also affiliated with

  • MACSI - Mathematics Application Consortium for Science & Industry

Department or School

  • Psychology

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