Two in three people in Flanders are no longer motivated to strictly follow the coronavirus measures, research conducted by the University of Ghent shows.
In March, 81% of people were motivated to follow the measures, but by mid-July, the percentage had already dropped to 69%. Last week, only 35% appeared to still be behind the current measures, according to the most recent figures.
An increasing number of people feel that following the measures is becoming an obligation, and only follow them to avoid fines or criticism from others, according to the study.
“I think it is important that the population gets perspective, that the government concretely indicates where we want to go,” Maarten Vansteenkiste, Professor of Motivational Psychology at UGent, said on Radio 1.
“That can be done by saying, for example, that we see the number of hospital admissions fall to about 50 per day. Then we have a goal in mind. Where do we want to be within 2 weeks, 4 weeks, a month? That will help the population to remain sustainably motivated,” he said.
“The harder it gets, the faster people give in to temptation. For example, they are invited to a barbecue and they accept it,” Vansteenkiste said.
Additionally, only 45% of the population adheres to the bubble of five. “The greater the demotivation, the faster we give up,” he said, adding that there are still differences in age.
“Young adults are less motivated than older generations, like at the beginning of the lockdown. However, the downward trend continues in the different age categories,” Vansteenkiste said.
The government and local authorities should use the energy of the population sparingly, he warned. “People have the feeling that certain measures are too strict. Local authorities have become more controlling.”
“Take the face mask obligation. If you go for a walk with your dog, it has little virological value to wear a mask. But an effort is required. An effort that does not pay off. It costs us energy.”