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Clinical, Covid, Personality, Social and behavioural

Behavioural science and disease prevention: Psychological guidance

This guidance gives policy-makers and communicators the psychological insight they need to help drive change

17 April 2020

Enabling behaviour change is key to minimising the spread of the virus.

Psychology is crucial to reducing the spread of Covid-19. The insight it provides enables us to understand and change people’s behaviour. Not only that, but it helps us anticipate how people will respond to changes in policy and guidelines. We know changing the way people behave is vital to preventing infection and improving outcomes for us all, but the challenge is how to get people on board.

Produced by the BPS Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce, the guidance includes nine recommendations designed to help inform policy-making decisions about how to bring about behaviour change. Crucially, it outlines how to communicate with people about the changes they need to make to the way they behave to prevent the spread of the virus. 

It also provides a framework outlining the core behaviours people need to use to reduce the spread of infection and highlights the questions that need to be asked to understand what’s behind those behaviours. Combined, this means policies, interventions and messaging can be developed that enable people to combat the pandemic as one. 

Download the guideline