The COVID-19 pandemic poses a substantial risk of disease spread among healthcare workers (HCWs), making it important to understand what impacts perceived risk of COVID-19 spread in hospital settings and what causes HCWs to mitigate COVID-19 spread by following COVID-19 safety measures. One determinant of risk perception and safe behaviors is the influence of seeing others as group members. The current study aims to (a) evaluate how social identification as an HCW and trust in co-workers may influence perceived risk of COVID-19 spread and (b) explore how communication transparency, trust in leaders, and identity leadership are associated with self-reported adherence to COVID-19 safety guidance. Using a correlational design, HCWs of a Scottish hospital were invited to participate in an online questionnaire measuring their perceptions of risk of COVID-19 transmission, measures of social identification as an HCW, perception of leaders as members of the team, trust in co-workers to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and perception of leaders to manage COVID-19 prevention effectively. Results showed that increased trust in co-workers was associated with reduced risk perception of COVID-19 transmission. Perceptions of transparent communication about COVID-19 were found to be associated with increased adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Findings show the importance of the association between social identity processes and reduced risk perception and highlight the relationship between transparent communication strategies and self-reported adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, identity leadership, and trust in leaders to manage COVID-19 appropriately.

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Hlubek, N., Templeton, A. & Wiseman‐gregg, K. 2022, 'A social identity approach to COVID‐19 transmission in hospital settings', Journal of Applied Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12948

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Last updated: 07 December 2022
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