Coronavirus: Only 37% feel others have changed behaviour in public, survey shows

Poll of 100,000 people reveals high level of understanding of Covid-19 restrictions

Just over a third of people feel that others around them have changed their behaviour when out in public due to coronavirus, according to an academic survey of more than 100,000 people.

The Corona Citizens' Science Project was produced by academics from Dublin City University (DCU) and NUI Galway based on responses from an online survey on April 8th.

The vast majority of respondents (85 per cent) said they had adapted their behaviour at home in response to the global pandemic.

While three-quarters of people said they had adapted how they acted when out in public due to Covid-19, only 37 per cent said they felt others they saw outside had also changed their behaviour.


About half of those surveyed (54 per cent) reported to have had social distanced conversations with other people.

Younger people on average reported more face-to-face interactions than older generations. Those under 30 had met on average more than four people in person, while older demographics had met on average more than three people.

The research found high levels of understanding of Government measures brought in to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Nine out of 10 people (92 per cent) reported a clear understanding of social distancing, which is a requirement to stay 2 metres away from others outside of the home. Some 79 per cent of respondents said they understood guidelines around shopping.

The most popular activities during the national lockdown among those surveyed included going for a walk, playing board games, indoor exercises and home work-outs.

The research was conducted by Prof Anthony Staines, public health expert at DCU, and Dr Akke Vellinga, an epidemiologist at NUI Galway.

“This is a baseline study on how we are coping with the restrictive measures put in place by the Government to try to flatten the curve of coronavirus,” Prof Staines said.

The academics intend to repeat the survey on April 22nd and then every two weeks “to continually check the pulse of the nation and our ability to deal with the current situation”, he said.


More than a fifth of people said they were home-schooling primary school aged children during the lockdown, and the vast majority of them – 77 per cent – had not run into any problems. However, 3 per cent of parents reported difficulties due to a lack of resources such as a laptop or computer at home.

One-tenth of the survey had a child in the junior cycle of secondary school, and 30 per cent of those said schools were sending work home. Of parents who had children aged 15-17 in the senior cycle, some 67 per cent reported schools setting homework and providing extra online support.

The average age of people who took the survey was 47, and three-quarters of respondents were female. The most responses came from Dublin (38 per cent), followed by Galway, and then Cork.

More than 70,000 who took the survey were in employment and 63 per cent said they were working from home. One in 10 surveyed said they were in receipt of the Covid-19 unemployment payment.

Out of the people in employment, 41 per cent said they had never worked from home before, while 19 per cent said they had on some past occasions, and a small number (6 per cent) had always worked from home.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times