Self-Focused and Other-Focused Health Concerns as Predictors of the Uptake of Corona Contact Tracing Apps. Empirical Study
ISSN der Zeitschrift
Backgorund: Corona contact tracing apps are a novel and promising measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They can help to balance the need to maintain normal life and economic activities as much as possible while still avoiding exponentially growing case numbers. However, a majority of citizens need to be willing to install such an app for it to be effective. Hence, knowledge about drivers for app uptake is crucial. Objective: This study aimed to add to our understanding of underlying psychological factors motivating app uptake. More specifically, we investigated the role of concern for one’s own health and concern to unknowingly infect others. Methods: A two-wave survey with 346 German-speaking participants from Switzerland and Germany was conducted. We measured the uptake of two decentralized contact tracing apps officially launched by governments (Corona-Warn-App, Germany; SwissCovid, Switzerland), as well as concerns regarding COVID-19 and control variables. Results; Controlling for demographic variables and general attitudes toward the government and the pandemic, logistic regression analysis showed a significant effect of self-focused concerns (odds ratio [OR] 1.64, P=.002). Meanwhile, concern of unknowingly infecting others did not contribute significantly to the prediction of app uptake over and above concern for one’s own health (OR 1.01, P=.92). Longitudinal analyses replicated this pattern and showed no support for the possibility that app uptake provokes changes in levels of concern. Testing for a curvilinear relationship, there was no evidence that “too much” concern leads to defensive reactions and reduces app uptake. Conclusions: As one of the first studies to assess the installation of already launched corona tracing apps, this study extends our knowledge of the motivational landscape of app uptake. Based on this, practical implications for communication strategies and app design are discussed.