Determinants of Adoption and Rejection of Protective Measures During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Study in Germany’s Second Wave


  • Pia Ochel
  • Sarah Eitze
  • Regina Siegers
  • Cornelia Betsch
  • Anna Seufert


The adoption and acceptance of protective measures are crucial for containing the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. In a recent article in this journal, Dohle et al. ( investigated the influence of risk perceptions and trust in politics and science on those constructs in March/April 2020. Since then, the pandemic has undergone several dynamic changes. We analyzed longitudinal data (N = 800) to investigate whether trust and risk were relevant predictors for pandemic measures at a later stage (October 2020/January 2021). The concept of risk perception was supplemented by risk attitude and affective risk to produce a more comprehensive picture of the risk component. We found that greater trust in science at time point 1 predicted less rejection and more adoption of measures at time point 2. Moreover, trust in politics predicted less rejection of measures. From all aspects of cognitive risk perception, only higher severity predicted lower rejection. All other cognitive aspects were non-significant. However, affective risk was shown to be a major predictor: the more the coronavirus was perceived as frightening and worrisome, the lower the rejection and more frequent the adoption of measures. Also, the higher the risk attitude related to health topics, the less frequent the implementation of measures. We replicated the analysis with predictors from time point 2 and deviations are discussed. Our results indicate that affective risk and general attitude toward health risk are more predictive of taking up measures in the context of COVID-19 than cognitive risk.