The Ghent University Motivational Psychologist Professor Maarten Vansteenkiste told VRT News that the authorities need to provide the public with clear and firm goals. Professor Vansteenkiste added that it now a case of all hands on deck.
"I believe that the population is given prospects and that the authorities always states correctly what they want to achieve. This could for example be that they want the number of hospital admissions to fall to 50 a day. Then we have a goal that has been set. Where do we want to be in 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and a month? This helps the population to remain motivated over time”
“More and more people feel that it has become an obligation, something to spare them from the criticism of other and to avoid a fine. They see it an obligation a tasks. The more the difficult it become, the more likely people will give in to temptation. For example, they accept an invitation to a barbecue”, Professor Vansteenkiste told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’.
With motivation having dipped, Flemings are following the measures less closely than was the case earlier in the pandemic. Only 45% of those surveyed respects the rule of only socialising with a set group consisting of five people from outside their household.
There are big differences in the level of motivation between the different age groups. For example, young adults are less motivated to adhere to the measures than older people. However, the fall in motivation levels can be seen across the ae spectrum.
Professor Vansteenkiste also points to a rebound effect when measures are relaxed. “People feel that they have to make the most of it”.
Professor Vansteenkiste calls on the authorities to be sparing with the measures they take and think about the added value they have in controlling the virus set against the restrictions they impose on person freedom. He cites the example of rules obliging people to wear face masks at all times everywhere in a particular city or municipality. Tis requires a big effort from the public but the virological value of making people wear masks when they take their dog out for a walk in an almost deserted lane is negligible.