Research finds increased trust in government and science amid pandemic

January 08, 2021

New Curtin University research has found a dramatic increase in people's trust in government in Australia and New Zealand as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration, the team surveyed people in Australia and New Zealand in July 2020 and found confidence in public health scientists to also be high and for this trust to be manifested in higher usage of government COVID phone apps.

Lead researcher Professor Shaun Goldfinch, ANZSOG WA Government Chair in Public Administration and Policy based at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin said the management of the pandemic by authorities led to a dramatic increase in trust in government.

"Using an online panel, we surveyed a representative sample of 500 people each in Australia and New Zealand, several months into the COVID pandemic and found a high level of confidence, with around 80 per cent of respondents agreeing government was generally trustworthy," Professor Goldfinch said.

"Around three quarters of those surveyed agreed management of the pandemic had increased their trust in government and more than 85 per cent of respondents had confidence that public health scientists worked in the public interest.

"We also found this trust and confidence strongly predicted COVID phone app use, largely through convincing people that the app was beneficial."

Professor Goldfinch said confidence in government had increased in Australia and New Zealand from a similar study in 2009, with 80 per cent and 83 per cent, respectively, agreeing government is generally trustworthy, compared to 49 per cent and 53 per cent in the earlier study.

"This rise is due in part to positive perceptions of the management of the pandemic, with around three quarters of respondents agreeing the way the crisis was handled had increased their trust in government," Professor Goldfinch said.

"Because the research was conducted during a global pandemic, the findings may not signal a long?term change in trust in government, which may return to previous levels when, and if, the crisis passes.

"Regardless, trust in government could be viewed as a 'reservoir' that can be drawn upon when needed so that citizens are willing to take what might be unusual and unprecedented actions when their trust is high, including the use of government apps. As such, trust remains key to effective government, particularly during crises."
-end-


Curtin University

Related Pandemic Articles from Brightsurf:

Areas where the next pandemic could emerge are revealed
An international team of human- and animal health experts has incorporated environmental, social and economic considerations -- including air transit centrality - to identify key areas at risk of leading to the next pandemic.

Narcissists love being pandemic 'essential workers'
There's one group of essential workers who especially enjoy being called a ''hero'' during the COVID-19 pandemic: narcissists.

COVID-19: Air quality influences the pandemic
An interdisciplinary team from the University of Geneva and the ETH Z├╝rich spin-off Meteodat investigated possible interactions between acutely elevated levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of the coronavirus disease.

People who purchased firearms during pandemic more likely to be suicidal
People who purchase a firearm during the pandemic are more likely to be suicidal than other firearm owners, according to a Rutgers study.

Measles outbreaks likely in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
Major measles outbreaks will likely occur during 2021 as an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new academic article.

The COVID-19 pandemic: How US universities responded
A new George Mason University study found that the majority of university announcements occurred on the same day as the World Health Organization's pandemic declaration.

Researchers find evidence of pandemic fatigue
A new study from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology shows that the behavioral responses to COVID-19 differed by age.

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

How fear encourages physical distancing during pandemic
Despite guidelines plastered on the walls and floors of grocery and retail stores encouraging customers to maintain six-feet of physical distance during the pandemic, many do not.

COVID-19 pandemic and $16 trillion virus
This Viewpoint aggregates mortality, morbidity, mental health conditions, and direct economic losses to estimate the total cost of the pandemic in the US on the optimistic assumption that it will be substantially contained by the fall of 2021.

Read More: Pandemic News and Pandemic Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.