TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — When hypothetical stay-at-home orders in response to COVID-19 are extended longer than expected, people become less willing to increase self-isolation efforts, according to a working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Guglielmo Briscese, Ph.D., from University of Chicago, and colleagues surveyed a representative sample of 894 Italian residents to assess their intentions to comply with the self-isolation restrictions introduced in Italy to mitigate the COVID-19 epidemic.

The researchers found that respondents are more likely to express the intention to reduce self-isolation and are less willing to increase their self-isolation effort if a hypothetical extension is longer than they expected. These findings are more pronounced among participants who reported high compliance with the isolation recommendations.

“In a context where individual compliance has collective benefits, but full enforcement is costly and controversial, communication and persuasion have a fundamental role,” the authors write.

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