[Public trust in institutions in the first half of the Corona pandemic: findings from the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO) project].


Eitze S(1), Felgendreff L(2), Korn L(2), Sprengholz P(2), Allen J(3), Jenny MA(3)(4)(5), Wieler LH(3), Thaiss H(6), De Bock F(6), Betsch C(2).
Author information:
(1)CEREB - Center of Empirical Research in Economics and Behavioral Sciences, Media and Communication Science, Universität Erfurt, Nordhäuser Str. 63, 99089, Erfurt, Deutschland. [Email]
(2)Universität Erfurt, Erfurt, Deutschland.
(3)Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin, Deutschland.
(4)Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung, Berlin, Deutschland.
(5)Harding-Zentrum für Risikokompetenz, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam, Deutschland.
(6)Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, Köln, Deutschland.


BACKGROUND: In the coronavirus pandemic, two institutions play a central role in the evidence-based classification of events for politics and the population. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) coordinates the fight against the pandemic, prepares well-founded recommendations for medical professionals, the media and the population, and advises politicians. The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) informs the population and institutions. GOALS: The COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO) project monitors whether and how trust in institutions changes over the pandemic. Which population groups show trust and how this is related to attitudes, risk perception and behaviour are analysed. METHODS: Cross-sectional studies with approximately N = 1000 respondents per survey were conducted since March 2020 to investigate risk perception, behaviour, acceptance of measures and trust in institutions. RESULTS: Trust in the RKI and BZgA was generally high but declined over the course of the pandemic. Higher trust for both institutions was associated with higher age of respondents, higher education, higher risk perception and higher acceptance of measures. Behaviours such as physical distancing and handwashing were shown more frequently. Men and the chronically ill showed lower trust. DISCUSSION: The results show that trust should be further promoted. This could be achieved, among other things, by taking into account the population's perspective (e.g. through COSMO) in the development and justification of strategies and measures. Communication strategies and recommendations for action should aim to support and relieve people with high-risk perceptions.