University Students’ Adherence to the COVID-19-guidelines: A Qualitative Study on Facilitators and Barriers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: This study aims to explore students’ adherence and reasons behind the (non)adherence to the COVID-19-regulations within a university setting.

Methods: A total of 33 students participated in on-site and online focus group interviews (k = 8). Discussed topics included the general COVID-19-guidelines of the university, including keeping ≥1.5 m distance, staying at home and getting tested when
having symptoms, and wearing facemasks. Additionally, education and psychosocial wellbeing in times of COVID-19 were discussed. We also conducted online interviews with stewards (2 focus group interviews and 1 individual interview) and security/crowd control officials (1 focus group interview) to learn more about students’ (non)adherence

Results: The findings of this study show that the interviewed students were willing to adhere to the guidelines within the university buildings. They mentioned several facilitators (e.g., the infrastructure of the buildings and staff) and barriers (e.g., being together with friends and difficulties with telling others to follow the regulations) for their compliance behaviors. Some students also stated that they are not afraid of COVID-19 because they are young, while others adhered to the regulations to protect vulnerable people. Focus group interviews with stewards/security did not add anything new to the findings.

Conclusion: To create a safe environment within the university and alleviate the spread of the virus, future interventions require targeting the determinants of students’ non-adherence behaviors, such as lower risk perception (e.g., being young and no perceived threat/low vulnerability) and lower self-efficacy (e.g., for keeping distance, to determine symptoms for testing/isolating and to correct others).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
JournalHealth Psychology Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Cite this