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Scottish social attitudes survey 2021/22: Attitudes to Scotland's handling of the pandemic

Findings from the Scottish Government funded Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2021/22 ‘Attitudes to Scotland’s Handling of the Pandemic’ module.


Chapter 4 – Views on how prepared Scotland is for another pandemic

This chapter assesses the relative influence of several potential key drivers of confidence in how prepared Scotland is to deal with another pandemic, specifically addressing the following research question:

  • Say that in five years’ time there was another pandemic like COVID-19. How confident are you, if at all, that Scotland will be properly prepared to deal with it? (Not at all confident, not very confident, fairly confident, very confident)

To do this, regression analysis was undertaken to find out which variables were key drivers of opinion regarding how prepared Scotland would be to deal with another pandemic. The potential drivers explored as part of this analysis included the following variables:

  • Age, gender, household composition, highest educational qualification, whether anyone in the household has had COVID-19
  • Level of deprivation (from the least deprived to the most deprived areas) according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), whether individuals are living in urban/rural areas
  • National identity, trust in the Scottish Government to act in Scotland’s best interests, how good the Scottish Government is at listening before taking decisions, political party affiliation

Levels of confidence in Scotland’s preparedness to deal with another pandemic if there was one in five years’ time

People were asked how well they felt Scotland was properly prepared to deal with another pandemic like COVID-19 in the future. Nearly a third (31%) felt ‘not at all/not very confident’ that Scotland was properly prepared while over two thirds (68%) felt ‘fairly/very confident’ about this. Table 4.1 shows these results.

Table 4.1: Say that in five years’ time there was another pandemic like COVID-19. How confident are you, if at all, that Scotland would be properly prepared to deal with it?
(%)
Not at all confident 10
Not very confident 21
Fairly confident 54
Very confident 14
Don’t know/Prefer not to answer 1
Weighted base 1130
Unweighted base 1130

Base: All respondents

When controlling for other variables, party political affiliation was found to be a key driver of confidence in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic. The odds of someone whose political party affiliation was Conservative saying that they felt ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic was almost four times greater (Or[27]=3.6) than those whose affiliation was with the Scottish National Party (SNP), while the odds of a Labour supporter saying the same were almost three times greater (Or=2.7).

What other key drivers are associated with views on how prepared Scotland is to deal with another pandemic?

Table 4.2 below outlines several key drivers that were associated with attitudes towards how prepared Scotland is for a future pandemic once other known differences were taken into account.

The column on the right shows the associated odds ratios. This analysis compares the odds of people saying that they were ‘not very/at all confident’ that Scotland would be properly prepared to deal with another pandemic for each sub-group category compared with the reference category (indicated by ‘ref:’ in the left-hand column). The higher the odds ratio, the greater the likelihood of such individuals to feel ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic compared with the reference category.

Table 4.2: Key drivers associated with being ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for a future pandemic
Odds ratio
Conservative party affiliation (ref: Scottish National Party) 3.6
Scottish Government ‘not very good/not at all good/don’t know/prefer not to answer’ at listening to people’s views before it takes decisions (ref: ‘very good/quite good’ 3.1
Disagree/disagree strongly that ‘there are many people in this area I could turn to for advice and support’ (ref: agree strongly/agree) 2.3
‘Only some of the time/never’ trust the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests (ref: ‘just about always/most of the time’) 2.2
Had/suspected had Covid (ref: don’t think had Covid/don’t know/prefer not to answer) 1.8
Male (ref: female/other/prefer not to say) 1.7

Base: All respondents

There was an association between perceptions of how good the Scottish Government was at listening to peoples’ views before taking decisions and confidence in future pandemic preparedness. The odds of those who felt that the Scottish Government was ‘not at all/not very good’ at listening to the views of the public before taking decisions saying that they were ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic were three times greater (3.1) than those who felt that the Scottish Government was ‘very/quite good’ at listening to the views of the public when making decisions.

In addition, the odds of those who trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests ‘only some of the time/almost never’ feeling ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic were two times greater (2.2) than those who trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests ‘just about always/most of the time’.

The odds of those who had contracted (confirmed by a test) or believed they had contracted Covid (not confirmed by a test) feeling ‘not very/not at all confident’ about Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic were two times (1.8) greater than among those who did not think they had ever had Covid.

The odds of men saying that they were ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic were two times higher (1.7) than among women, while the odds of those who said they ‘disagree/disagree strongly’ that they had people they could turn to for advice or support were two times greater (2.3) than among those who said they ‘agree strongly/agree’ that they had people to turn to.

The variables that were not found to be significantly associated with confidence in Scotland’s preparedness to deal with a future pandemic included age, household composition, highest educational qualification, SIMD quintile, urban/rural residence, levels of social trust and national identity.

Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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