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Numeracy and COVID-19: Examining interrelationships between numeracy, health numeracy and behaviour
Royal Society Open Science
  • Nathan T.T. Lau, Western University
  • Eric D. Wilkey, Western University
  • Mojtaba Soltanlou, Western University
  • Rebekka Lagacé Cusiac, Western University
  • Lien Peters, Western University
  • Paul Tremblay, Western University
  • Celia Goffin, Western University
  • Isabella Starling Alves, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Andrew David Ribner, University of Pittsburgh
  • Clarissa Thompson, Kent State University
  • Jo Van Hoof, KU Leuven
  • Julia Bahnmueller, Loughborough University
  • Aymee Alvarez, Western University
  • Elien Bellon, KU Leuven
  • Ilse Coolen, Université Paris Cité
  • Fanny Ollivier, Université Rennes 2
  • Daniel Ansari, Western University
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the globe have been exposed to large amounts of statistical data. Previous studies have shown that individuals mathematical understanding of health-related information affects their attitudes and behaviours. Here, we investigate the relation between (i) basic numeracy, (ii) COVID-19 health numeracy, and (iii) COVID-19 health-related attitudes and behaviours. An online survey measuring these three variables was distributed in Canada, the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) (n = 2032). In line with predictions, basic numeracy was positively related to COVID-19 health numeracy. However, predictions, neither basic numeracy nor COVID-19 health numeracy was related to COVID-19 healthrelated attitudes and behaviours (e.g. follow experts recommendations on social distancing, wearing masks etc.). Multi-group analysis was used to investigate mean differences and differences in the strength of the correlation across countries. Results indicate there were no between-country differences in the correlations between the main constructs but there were between-country differences in latent means. Overall, results suggest that while basic numeracy is related to one s understanding of data about COVID-19, better numeracy alone is not enough to influence a population s health-related attitudes about disease severity and to increase the likelihood of following public health advice.

Citation Information
Nathan T.T. Lau, Eric D. Wilkey, Mojtaba Soltanlou, Rebekka Lagacé Cusiac, et al.. "Numeracy and COVID-19: Examining interrelationships between numeracy, health numeracy and behaviour" Royal Society Open Science Vol. 9 Iss. 3 (2022)
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