University of Brighton will receive £97,491 to fund the study, which will focus particularly on ethnicity as a factor in how citizens respond to COVID-19 preventative measures in both the UK and US, from mask wearing to vaccination. It forms part of the British Academy 2021 programme entitled COVID-19 Recovery: building future pandemic preparedness and understanding citizen engagement in the USA and UK, and its findings will be used to guide future policy on boosting engagement with pandemic-related measures.
Professor Jaspal is working with Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell and Professor Julie Barnett (both at the University of Bath) and Professor Daniel Wright at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The international team will review empirical psychological data on citizen reactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether the international research effort might have been better coordinated and communicated to support the pandemic response and subsequent readiness. The study will also explore localised differences in response.
A final report – due to be published in March 2022 - will look for changes in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, as well as predictive factors behind it. These include socio-economic differentials, psychological factors, such as identity resilience, perceived access to social support systems, mistrust of science or governments, perceived personal risk, and ideological belief systems, as well as complex factors such as nationalism and conspiracy theories.