Social Attitudes, Behavior, and Consequences surrounding COVID-19 in Qatar: Findings from a Large-scale Online Survey
Al Thani, Maryam F.
El-Kassem, Rima Charbaji
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Amid the outbreak of the contagious novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), states were put in an unprecedented situation never encountered before. Qatari authorities applied certain preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus. Still, knowledge of public risk perceptions and behavioral responses surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic is emerging, and clear quantitative data remain limited. This poster summarizes the results of a SESRI study that investigated social attitudes, behavior, and consequences surrounding COVID-19 in Qatar. An original online survey was conducted in both Qatar and a comparison case (Kuwait) during a 3-month period from November 2020 to January 2021. A total of 4,597 citizens and residents of Qatar aged 18 years and older were recruited to participate in the study, with 2,282 completing the full interview schedule. A total of 2,671 citizens and residents of Kuwait (1,184 completed) also took part in the survey to provide a regional baseline. The study produced many previously unavailable insights. Attitudes on risk perception, behavioral responses, and psychological distress were examined, along with individual-level determinants of intentions to comply as well as actual compliance with mandated preventive measures. The study findings suggest that authorities in Qatar should prioritize increasing public knowledge about COVID-19, present clear explanations of important changes in public policy surrounding COVID-19, spread accurate information about COVID-19 to combat the global online misinformation and debunk conspiracy theories and perpetuating myths. Redouble efforts to ensure public compliance with COVID-19 preventative measures, particularly among Qatari citizens and in relation to social gatherings, continue the transparent communication about its approach of handling the crisis with the public and effectively communicate the dangers of COVID-19 in order to encourage citizens and residents to comply with restrictions and to take the vaccine.
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