Anti-contagion measures restricting individual freedom, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, are crucial to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Decision-making patterns and attitudes about uncertainty can highly influence the adherence to these restrictive measures. Here we investigated the relationship between risky behavior and individual preferences for immediate vs. delayed reward, as indexed by temporal discounting (TD), as well as the association between these measures and confidence in the future, perceived risk and confidence in the containment measures. These measures were collected through an online survey administered on 353 participants at the end of the more restrictive phase of the first Italian lockdown. The results showed an unexpected inverse relationship between the individual pattern of choice preferences and risky behavior, with an overall greater adherence to containment measures in more discounter participants. These findings were interpreted in terms of a reframing process in which behaviors aimed at protecting oneself from contagion turn into immediate gains rather than losses. Interestingly, an excessive confidence in a better future was correlated with a higher tendency to assume risky behavior, thereby high-lighting the downside of an overly and blindly optimistic view.

Effects of individual discount rate and uncertainty perception on compliance with containment measures during the COVID-19 pandemic

Calluso C.
Primo
;
Tosoni A.
Penultimo
;
Committeri G.
Ultimo
2021-01-01

Abstract

Anti-contagion measures restricting individual freedom, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, are crucial to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Decision-making patterns and attitudes about uncertainty can highly influence the adherence to these restrictive measures. Here we investigated the relationship between risky behavior and individual preferences for immediate vs. delayed reward, as indexed by temporal discounting (TD), as well as the association between these measures and confidence in the future, perceived risk and confidence in the containment measures. These measures were collected through an online survey administered on 353 participants at the end of the more restrictive phase of the first Italian lockdown. The results showed an unexpected inverse relationship between the individual pattern of choice preferences and risky behavior, with an overall greater adherence to containment measures in more discounter participants. These findings were interpreted in terms of a reframing process in which behaviors aimed at protecting oneself from contagion turn into immediate gains rather than losses. Interestingly, an excessive confidence in a better future was correlated with a higher tendency to assume risky behavior, thereby high-lighting the downside of an overly and blindly optimistic view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/768112
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