COVID-19 pandemic: insights into human behaviour

Anuradha Kunal Shah, Prabhadevi Ravichandran, Prabhu Ravichandran


COVID-19 has placed an overwhelming burden on health care systems and authorities. In the absence of a vaccine or definitive treatment, widespread social and behavioral changes are critical in mitigating the impact. These are highly influenced by risk perception by the public, protective and preparedness behaviors, and effective communication. Here we have highlighted some of the commonly seen human behaviors during a pandemic crisis.


Human behavior, COVID-19, Communication

Full Text:



Betsch C, Wieler LH, Habersaat K. Monitoring behavioural insights related to COVID-19. The Lancet. 2020;395(10232)1255-6.

WHO/Europe Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak- WHO tool for behavioural insights on COVID-19 Available at: en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-technical-guidance/who-tool-for-behavioural-insights-on-covid-19. Accessed on 27 April 2020.

Betsch C. How behavioural science data helps mitigate the COVID-19 crisis. Nat Hum Behav. 2020;4:438.

World Health Organization. Communicating risk in public health emergencies : a WHO guideline for emergency risk communication (ERC) policy and practice. Available at: Accessed on 27 April 2020.

Bavel JJ Van, Baicker K, Boggio P, Capraro V, Cichocka A, Crockett M, et al. Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nat Hum Behav. 2020;4:460-71.

Van der Pligt J. Risk Perception and Self-Protective Behavior. Eur Psychol. 1996;1(1):34-43.

Reintjes R, Das E, Klemm C, Richardus JH, Kebler V, Ahmad A. Pandemic public health paradox: time series analysis of the 2009-10 influenza a, H1N1 epidemiology, media attention, risk perception and public reactions in 5 European countries. PLoS One. 2016;11(3):e0151258.

Rubin GJ, AmlĂ´t R, Page L, Wessely S. Public perceptions, anxiety, and behaviour change in relation to the swine flu outbreak: Cross sectional telephone survey. BMJ. 2009;339(7713):156.

European centre for disease prevention and control. Considerations relating to social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Available at: Accessed on 27 April 2020.

Russell A. The Rise of Coronavirus hate crimes. Available at: letter-from-the-uk/the-rise-of-coronavirus-hate-crimes. Accessed on 27 April 2020.

Dovidio JF, Gaertner SL, Saguy T. Another view of we: Majority and minority group perspectives on a common ingroup identity. Eur Rev Soc Psychol. 2007;18(1):296-330.

More than 29 million hydroxychloroquine doses bought by U.S. have come from India, says President Trump - The Hindu. Available at: https://www.the ece. Accessed on 27 April 2020.

Kuo L. China sends doctors and masks overseas as domestic coronavirus infections drop. Available at: Accessed on 27 April 2020.

Pakpour A, Griffiths M. The fear of COVID-19 and its role in preventive behaviors. J Concurr Disord. 2020;2(1):58-63.

Clarke L. Panic: myth or reality?. Contexts. 2002;1:21-6.