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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 93-104

Social trust and COVID-appropriate behavior: Learning from the pandemic

1 Production and Operations Management, School of Management, KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India
2 Consultant Psychiatrist, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Wolverhampton, UK
3 Production and Operations Management, School of Management, KIIT University; Assistant Admissions Officer, XIM University, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Brajaballav Kar
School of Management, KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/shb.shb_183_22

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Introduction: General trust and trust in various social institutions/agents are argued to positively influence the outcome, more so, in a crisis. Mitigating a crisis requires actions from individuals, family, friends, co-workers, various policymaking, and implementing agencies, media, and other agencies with whom people interact. In the COVID-19 situation, people individuals did not have a choice but to access essential services even with the risk of infection. Personal experiences also guide individuals' trust in various social groups and are responsible for taking individual action of protecting themselves in the pandemic. To what extent people trusted various social groups and observed appropriate behavior is investigated in this research. Methods: Responses were collected through a structured, web-based questionnaire where respondents self-reported their trust in various social agents and the extent to which they observed COVID-appropriate behavior. Respondents primarily belonged to the eastern part of India. Results: This study finds significant demographic differences in observing appropriate behavior leading to an identification of a vulnerable group. Second, trust in the inner group (family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers among others) is least important whereas trust in professionals and administrative institutions is the most important. Trust in the central government, media, and politicians among others is counterproductive to observing the appropriate behavior. Conclusion: People repose higher trust in professionals and administrative institutions in a crisis situation. Professional and administrative leadership helps in more effective crisis management leading to better behavioral compliance of the public. Any other leadership may be ineffective or counter-productive.

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