CU research: Trusting others reduces fear of coronavirus

Bratislava, 13 November 2020: People who trust others to behave responsibly perceive the spread of coronavirus as less threatening. This is the result of a survey by researchers Martin Kanovský and Júlia Halamová from Comenius University Bratislava. The survey took place on social networks at the end of March 2020 on a sample of 565 respondents aged 18-77.

16. 11. 2020 09.05 hod.
By: External Relations Office CU

The aim of the research was to gauge how much Slovak citizens trust the measures against COVID-19 and how they perceive the coronavirus threat. Researchers measured people's trust in institutions, confidence in the behaviour of themselves and their relatives and the trust in the behaviour of others. Respondents who expressed more trust in a responsible behaviour of others perceived the spread of the virus and a possible infection as less threatening.

"It was especially surprising for us that Slovak respondents, at least in March, showed a great deal of trust in the behaviour of others. Whether it's due to simple observation and participation or due to conformism in the good sense of the word, the conclusion is promising," says Martin Kanovský, adding that observing the behaviour of others and trusting their decisions seems to be key to public compliance with measures.

This conclusion can help shape new public health policies and crisis communication. Improving trust in the behaviour of others can affect individual and social responsibility, as well as solidarity by fostering social ties that go beyond the family. In the following research the scientists from the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of Comenius University plan to collect data in other countries using the same methods and hope to obtain results which can be compared.

The case study will be published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal which ranks in the first quartile of psychology journals and offers open access to almost 20,000 articles.


Prof. Mgr. Martin Kanovský, PhD. works in the fields of cognitive anthropology, anthropology of childhood, and identity and ethnicity. He graduated in history, aesthetics and philosophy. He works in the Institute of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of Comenius University.

Prof. Mgr. Júlia Kanovská Halamová, PhD. focuses on counselling psychology, psychotherapy, emotions and community psychology. She graduated in psychology. She is the director of the Institute of Applied Psychology at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of Comenius University.