The research titled “Exploration of Behavioral Changes during COVID-19” was undertaken by Mr Pachara Sukwiboon, a student from the Master of Business Administration Program (MBA) Thammasat Business School, Thammasat University. Associate Professor Dr Sakun Boon-itt is the advisor.
The study aims to understand the changes in people’s behaviour during the COVID-19 outbreak and found that people from different generations have different behaviours while some generations share some similar behaviours.
The study explored behaviours of Generation Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z, and people who have knowledge related to COVID-19. The result indicates that “behaviours of each generation across the periods of COVID-19 outbreak have changed differently and knowledge level is one of the main factors leading to behaviour changes in order to prevent themselves from disease infection.”
The research explores behavioural changes during 3 periods- before the COVID-19 pandemic, during the COVID-19 pandemic (during the discovery of the first COVID-19 infected in Thailand until lockdown phase 5 or13 Jaunary 2020 – 30 June 2020), and after the COVID-19 pandemic (after lockdown phase 5 or after 30 June 2020)
According to the results of the study of 241 subjects via an online questionnaire, there are 3 types of behavioural changes for each period.
The temporary behavioural change includes hanging out with friend or family, going to a large open space, going to a large closed space, going to places with more than 20 people, and travelling by public transportation. In these behaviour groups, people show short-term adaptation before the spread of COVID-19 until the spread of COVID-19 in order to prevent themselves from disease infection. However, they resume their normal behaviours during the normal situation. In other words, the frequency of this behaviour before the spread of COVID-19 and now is only slightly different.
Non-adaptive behaviours or slight-to-medium adaptive behaviours are buying luxury goods, using social media, shopping online, using online food delivery, using serving spoons when sharing food, consuming healthy food or supplementary food, greeting for chatting with friend or family on social media, regularly exercising, seek medical attention when they have a fever, cough, sneeze or difficulty breathing, and using hands or other parts to cover when they cough or sneeze.
In these behaviour groups, people show indirect adaptation to prevent themselves from disease infection. For example, they use technology more and meet other people less or they keep fit in order to reduce infection risk. In other words, the frequency of this behaviour before the spread of COVID-19 and during the spread of COVID-19 is comparatively different. As a result, the frequency of doing these behaviours now is different from the pre-COVID19 situation.
New Normal behaviours are avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth with uncleaned hands, maintain a safe distance from anyone who cough or sneeze, wear a mask before leaving the house or staying at a public area, and cleaning hands with soap or alcohol gel before and after touching something. These behaviours are characterized as disease prevention adaptation.
Moreover, these are policies encouraged by the government and the private sector to comply. It means that before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequency of doing these behaviours is completely different. Moreover, the frequency of doing these behaviours now is also different from the pre-COVID-19 time.
In terms of the behaviour’s difference in each generation, the study shows that Generation Baby Boomers and Generation X share similar behavioural changes to prevent themselves from COVID-19 infection, while Generation Y and Generation Z share similar behavioural changes. However, some adaptation behaviours of Generation Z are different from other generations such as hanging out, going to a large open space, going to a large closed space, and going to a place with more than 20 people. Generation Z tends to do these activities more after the spread of COVID-19 than during the spread of COVID-19.
In terms of the differences in knowledge level, people with different knowledge level show similar behavioural changes to prevent themselves from disease infection. However, they have different behavioural adaption, including hanging out and using public transportation.