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Table 4 Contribution of key themes from each study

From: Public perceptions of non-pharmaceutical interventions for reducing transmission of respiratory infection: systematic review and synthesis of qualitative studies

  Theme Sub-theme Summary definition Study reference by infection context and study population
  SARS Non-pandemic H1N1 2009 pandemic
S1 S2 N1 N2 P1 P2 P3
1 Perceived benefits of non-pharmaceutical interventions
a Hand and respiratory hygiene is common sense/familiar Hygiene behaviours are seen as familiar and acceptable in varying contexts and populations    [38, 39, 41, 48]   [44, 46, 5052] [50] [43]
b Mask wearing demonstrates responsibility and reduces stigma Mask wearing is seen as a way of visibly demonstrating one’s desire to protect self and others from infection, which can in turn reduce social stigma experienced.        [45]
c Social isolation and distancing are socially responsible actions Isolation and distancing are believed to be socially responsible actions and seen as necessary for the protection of society as a whole [36]   [41, 42]     
2 Perceived disadvantages of non-pharmaceutical interventions
a Hand washing for respiratory infection control is irrelevant Additional hand washing behaviours are seen as irrelevant by those who class themselves as regular hand washers    [41]   [44, 46]   
b Hand washing and mask wearing can attract social stigma Hand washing and mask wearing are perceived as socially unacceptable due to the potential to attract discrimination and embarrassment   [40] [41] [47] [44, 52]   
c Non-pharmaceutical behaviours have negative personal and socioeconomic impacts Perceived physical, practical, emotional and socioeconomic costs of isolation social distancing, mask wearing and hygiene behaviours [36, 37]   [41, 42, 48] [47] [44, 4952] [50]  
3 Personal/cultural beliefs about infection transmission
   Common beliefs about respiratory infections are caught and spread e.g. via air, from symptomatic others and in cold temperatures [36] [40] [41, 48]   [44, 46, 49, 52]   [43]
4 Diagnostic uncertainty in emerging respiratory infections
   Identifying symptoms of and having to diagnose infection in an emerging respiratory infection is seen as confusing and concerning and can lead to uncertainty about when to adopt infection control [36, 37]     [46, 4952]   [43]
5 Perceived vulnerability to respiratory infections
a Perceived health status Evaluating one’s vulnerability to respiratory infection in terms of own perceived health status and the health of others      [44, 46, 5052]   [43, 45]
b Proximity to the origin of outbreak Evaluating susceptibility to a new respiratory infection in terms of geographical proximity to the origin of the outbreak and type of living environment   [40] [38, 39, 41, 42]   [46, 50, 52]   
6 Anxiety about emerging respiratory infections  
a Decreasing anxiety over the course of an outbreak Initial anxiety in an outbreak decreases over the course of the outbreak as public reassess the risk/impact of a new respiratory infection according to personal experience vs. information presented in the media   [40]    [46, 49, 51]   [43]
b High anxiety if perceived to be more vulnerable Greater anxiety experienced during H1N1 by those who perceived themselves to be more vulnerable to infection.      [46, 51]   [43]
c Low anxiety Low levels of worry experienced during an emerging respiratory infection outbreak      [46, 49, 50]   [43]
7 Communications about emerging respiratory infections
a Media reporting of information on new respiratory infection outbreaks is seen overhyped People appraise the credibility of information/communications about a new respiratory outbreak in terms of consistency of information and perceived exaggeration compared to actual/previous experience [36, 37] [40] [39, 41]   [46, 4952]   [43]
b Official communication about new respiratory infection outbreaks is not reliable (threat is downplayed) Some people’s evaluation of information influenced by scepticism about level of detail presented (i.e. not being given all the facts)    [39, 42]   [50]   [43]
  1. S1: SARS general public, S2: SARS ethnic groups; N1: Non-pandemic general public, N2: Non-pandemic ethnic groups; P1: H1N1 general public, P2: H1N1 ethnic groups, P3: H1N1 patient groups.