Abstract

The past decades have seen growing interest and application of interventions targeting the change of multiple behaviors at once. We advance this work by using the diffusion of innovations theory (DOI) to consider constellations of behaviors as innovation packages: multiple innovations that are logically related, interdependent in their use or effects, and often promoted as a set (Rogers, 2003). In addition, we embraced DOI’s focus on behavioral decisions as a continual process that can include adoption and discontinuance over time, especially as new innovations (e.g., COVID-19 vaccine) appear. To that end, we conducted a latent transition analysis of COVID-19 mitigation behaviors (N = 697; 97% received a COVID-19 vaccine) across three time points in the pandemic: initial outbreak; a secondary, record-breaking rise in cases; and after the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated adults could discontinue wearing masks. This analysis allowed us to identify latent classes based on shared behavioral patterns and transitions between classes over time. The results showed evidence of three possible packages: (a) a package of traditional, symptom-management behaviors (covering coughs and sneezes, staying home if ill, and seeking medical care), (b) a package of just-novel COVID-19 behaviors (wearing masks, keeping six feet apart, and avoiding mass gatherings), and (c) a package of all COVID-19 mitigation behaviors. Movement between classes exemplified adoption and discontinuance of different packages, as well as widespread discontinuance with the replacement innovation: COVID-19 vaccines. Additional analyses showed that increases in hope were associated with sustained and delayed adoption; decreases in social approval were associated with discontinuance. Future directions in theorizing around innovation packages are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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