Understanding the beliefs about staying home is essential to inform stay-at-home policies to mitigate COVID-19 and future epidemics. This study (1) identified the salient advantages, disadvantages, and facilitating beliefs about staying home, and (2) examined the relationship between these beliefs and intention. U.S. adults from a nationally representative probability-based household panel completed an online reasoned action approach belief elicitation from April 10-20, 2020, about one month after stay-at-home guidelines were implemented. First, we conducted an inductive content analysis to reveal salient beliefs about staying home. We identified eight advantages, 12 disadvantages, and 12 facilitators that broadly spanned across health domains: individual, population, interpersonal, occupational, financial, and leisure health. Then, we conducted three regression analyses, one for each of the three sets of beliefs, predicting intention to stay home for the next month from worker status and belief mentioned. In these regression analyses, four advantages, four disadvantages, and four facilitators made independent contributions to explaining intention. The breadth of the elicited beliefs suggests that COVID-19 is perceived to have impacted many dimensions of our lives, and that interventions need to be just as broad. Communication and educational interventions could help people understand the benefits of staying home to themselves, to their families, and to the wider community. Programs that keep essential supplies available could help people stay home. Structural interventions with financial safety nets and policies that help people stay employed during an epidemic might address people’s concerns about the impact of staying home on their financial and occupational health.

Author ORCID Identifier

Christopher Owens, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2729-151X

Susan E. Middlestadt, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9391-1625

Stephanie Dickinson, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2998-4467

Jon T. Macy, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2925-8585

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License