Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : We investigated the social, emotional, and cognitive predictors of adherence to four health behaviors (handwashing, mask wearing, social contact limitations, and physical distancing) during one critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. We collected data (N = 5803, mean age = 53; 57% women) in Belgium at five time points between April and July 2021, a time during which infections evolved from high (third wave of the pandemic) to low numbers of COVID-19 cases. The results show that the social, emotional, and cognitive predictors achieved high levels of explained variance (R2 > .60). In particular, the central components of behavioral change (attitudes, intentions, control, habits, norms, and risk) were the strongest and most consistent predictors of health behaviors over time. Likewise, autonomous motivation and empathetic emotions (e.g., attentive, compassionate) had a positive impact on health behavior adherence, whereas it was the opposite for lively emotions (e.g., active, enthusiastic). These results offer policymakers actionable insights into the most potent and stable factors associated with health behaviors, equipping them with effective strategies to curtail the spread of future infectious diseases.