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Anxiety Increases the Willingness the Willingness to Be Exposed to Covid-19 Risk among Young Adults in France

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  • Fabrice Etilé

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Pierre-Yves Geoffard

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak has generated significant uncertainty about the future, especially for young adults. Health and economic threats, as well as more diffuse concerns about the consequences of COVID-19, can trigger feelings of anxiety, leading individuals to adopt uncertainty-reducing behaviours. We tested whether anxiety was associated with an increase in willingness to be exposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection (WiRE) using an online survey administered to 3,110 French individuals aged between 18 and 35 years old during the lockdown period (April 2020). Overall, 56.5% of the sample declared a positive WiRE. Unemployment was associated with a higher WiRE (+8.2 percentage points (pp); 95% CI +0.9-15.4 pp). One standard deviation increases in income (+1160€) and psychological state anxiety raised the WiRE by +2.7 pp (95% CI: +1.1-4.4 pp) and +3.9 pp (95% CI: +1.6-6.2 pp), respectively. A one standard deviation increase in perceived hospitalisation risk was associated with a -4.1 pp (95% CI: -6.2-2.1 pp) decrease in the WiRE. Overall, our results suggest that both the prospect of economic losses and psychological anxiety can undermine young adults'adherence to physical distancing recommendations. Public policies targeting young adults must consider both their economic situation and their mental health, and they must use uncertaintyreducing communication strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrice Etilé & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2020. "Anxiety Increases the Willingness the Willingness to Be Exposed to Covid-19 Risk among Young Adults in France," Working Papers halshs-03066539, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-03066539
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03066539
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    Keywords

    Covid-19; Risk; Young Adults; France;
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