Emerging attitudes of lay people towards lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic: an exploration of attitude types through Q-methodology

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Devasheesh Mathur


The unprecedented coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has forced us to live in a constrained manner. The norms of social distancing and work-from-home in conjunction with severely reduced socio-economic activities have put psychological and behavioural burdens on lay people. This study explored the emerging attitudes of lay people towards the existing situation. The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented in its magnitude, and most citizens are not prepared to remain in a state of lockdown for a long period of time. The ABC model evaluated the affective, behavioural and cognitive aspects of lay people’s attitudes towards lockdown. A quasi-experimental Q-sorting technique was used to explore the emerging attitudes towards the existing situation. Factor analysis along with textual analysis of submitted answers were conducted. In this study, 5 attitude types emerged based on the ABC model. The attitudes differed in terms of a person’s threat perception towards Covid-19, locus of control, practical and work-place issues, information-seeking behaviour and community-orientation. Most respondents appeared psychologically adaptive to the existing situation and maintained an optimistic outlook. However, this attitude may be their knee-jerk reaction because very little is known about the pandemic. Some people are uncertain of how to handle the situation and are becoming pessimistic by the day, while there are others who are dismissive of the situation and continued to live as before. The emerging attitude types and their components are useful indicators for national and provincial governments in their communication about the pandemic. In addition, organizations can use this information to assess their employees’ preparedness in a crisis and manage it accordingly.


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Devasheesh Mathur, Healthcare Management, Goa Institute of Management, India

Healthcare Management, Goa Institute of Management, India


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