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Table 2 Topic descriptions – barriers to compliance

From: Facilitators and barriers to compliance with COVID-19 guidelines: a structural topic modelling analysis of free-text data from 17,500 UK adults

Topic Proportion Short Title Description FREX Exemplar Text
B1 20.82% Others invading space Difficulty of maintaining social distancing in public, due to actions of others, particularly in supermarkets. space, supermarket, distanc, maintain, social, difficult, other, observ, street, crowd “Whilst food shopping I keep my distance from others.. however many people do not keep their distance from me. Unbelievable how many people reach over /past me to reach something from shelves i am stood in front of”
B2 9.79% Issues with masks and sanitiser Forgetting to wear masks, wash hands, or use hand sanitiser. Discomfort caused by masks or santiser. mask, wear, hand, forget, wash, sanitis, deliveri, breath, facemask, dog “Shortness of breath and asthma means that I don’t wear a face covering but I do wear an exemption badge.”
“Forgetfulness: workmen renovating my flat nearby, occasionally have forgotten to wear a mask or wash/gel hands - re latter often remember some time after but worry it is too late”
B3 7.91% Mental health and family support Impacts on own and family members mental health and insufficiency of support bubbles to meet practical needs. mental, health, support, mother, bubbl, elderli, childcar, relationship, dad, carer “Single parent with twin toddlers, need support from more than one bubble for childcare and to support mental health,”
“Mental health issues for myself and relatives. My daughter struggles with not being able to see her boyfriend.”
B4 7.24% Special circumstances Breaking the rules on occasion, usually due to necessity or emotional wellbeing hous, week, grandchildren, 3, birthdai, grandson, old, 6, hug, 7 “I look after my grandchildren so kissing and hugging happens, my daughters had their birthdays so we visited to give presents and hugged them, terrible to feel guilty hugging your children. My 85 year old father asks for shopping occasionally, we take it to him and enter the house but feel guilty doing so.”
“I look after my grandson 1 day a week & babysit at other times. I have 2 adult sons who moved out recently & come back to the house to get things.”
B5 7.07% Following the guidelines Following the guidelines completely to the best of one’s knowledge and ability. guidelin, follow, obstacl, transport, line, public, easi, selfish, guid, complet “I have tried to follow guide lines 100% but have probably slipped up a few times”
“I always follow the guidelines.”
B6 6.56% Missing family and friends Desire to meet family and friends. Meeting outside made harder due to poor weather. friend, miss, garden, famili, christma, allow, meet, spend, coffe, socialis “Missing family. In summer the weather made it easier and we could meet in the garden, this isn’t so tempting in winter!”
B7 6.55% Lack of trust in government Lack of trust and confidence in government competence. Anger at Dominic Cummings. advic, messag, cum, trust, domin, minist, bori, faith, incompet, johnson “Boris Johnson, lack of leadership, lack of decisive and timely advice, mixed messages, Dominic Cummings idiocy, continuing lies from Ministers”
“lack of confidence in the evidence base for decision-making, lack of confidence that decision-makers are acting in best interests of population”
B8 6.43% Workplace issues Difficulty complying with rules in the workplace, especially in schools. school, teacher, work, colleagu, primari, student, offic, teach, workplac, meter “The rules being had to implement in a work environment (secondary school) it’s not possible to remain 1 m away from pupils in corridors or in classrooms when there’s 30+ in the class”
“I am considered an essential worker and have to go to work. Although some of us could work from home we all have to attend the office every day and mix with colleagues.”
B9 6.39% Perceiving the risks as low Belief that the risk is low or that the statistics are inaccurate or exaggerated.
Also contains text on difficulties with testing or the Test and Trace system.
covid, test, low, catch, viru, risk, life, symptom, posit, normal “I am in an area with very low infection rates and still don’t think I know anyone who has actually tested positive or been very ill.”
“I don’t believe the stats in the media and the risks associated with COVID-19 have been completely over exaggerated and are killing the economy. Deaths in hospital are falsely being recorded as COVID-19 and the percentages of people who have died are tiny and do not warrant lockdowns. The few people I know who have tested positive, have not even known they had it. I have zero trust in any facts presented about COVID-19 and therefore I am not going to stop seeing my loved ones.”
B10 5.74% Social norms and social pressures Pressure from family, friends and colleagues to bend rules. Observation of others – including those in power – breaking rules.
Also, difficulties related to confusion around the rules.
pressur, stick, break, relax, make, peer, habit, guidanc, rule, tempt “I have been following the guidelines but I am always made to feel like grinch by colleagues who bend rules to suit themselves. Its (sic) hard”
“I have been following guidelines, but I have seen so many people not following the guidelines it makes me more tempted to ‘bend the rules’ slightly.”
B11 4.35% Complexity of rules Difficulties following frequently changing rules that are also perceived as lacking logical basis. Lack of flexibility in rules. sens, chang, tier, common, logic, complic, stupid, ridicul, nonsens, appli “Stupid nonsensical non-evidenced government knee jerk reactions eg closing places of worship and golf clubs with no real rationale.”
“I think we should be using common sense rather than overly prescriptive rules that don’t always make sense”
B12 4.16% Loneliness Impact on mental wellbeing of living alone. live, alon, human, interact, limit, loneli, person, contact, period, lowrisk “I need face to face human contact for my mental well being and my sanity”
“I live on my own, and so do the majority of people I interact with. The restriction to meet as two households outside means I can really only ever see one other person, and that really limits meaningful shared experiences which I think are important for my mental health. I have on occasion broken this rule to meet e.g. as three of us outside.”
B13 3.54% Geographical variation in rules Difficulties related to differences in rules across areas, particularly for those living on the border between England and Wales. england, wale, border, understand, letter, attitud, action, measur, interpret, consist “I live right on the border between Wales and England and have not been able to stay entirely within Wales at times when the border was closed because of the locations of essential local services”
“Frequency of changes to guidelines. Differences between devolved and English measures. English measures have been more clearly communicated. I’m still uncertain on Welsh rules for meeting other people.”
B14 3.45% Confusion around rules Confusion about what the rules are.
Also contains text on adhering with guidelines to best of one’s ability.
hinder, frustrat, applic, regul, awar, adher, situat, confus, abil, disregard “The instructions are confused and confusing. The variety of scientific opinion is not always reflected but interviewers seem sometimes more interested in apportioning blame than establishing consensus.”