Compliance with COVID-19 Public Health Measures: Exploring Perspectives of Younger Adults in Ontario


  • Vanessa De Rubeis
  • Elise Desjardins
  • Danielle Charron
  • Rachel Roy



COVID-19, mitigation, compliance, health promotion, pandemic


To slow the spread of COVID-19, public health mitigation strategies were implemented globally. Compliance with these measures varied greatly among different age groups in Ontario, Canada, with lower compliance found among adults 20-39 years of age. The objectives of this study were to explore facilitators and barriers to adherence to COVID-19 public health measures among these young adults and to use insights gathered from this research to inform interventions to address the identified barriers. A total of 5 focus groups with 22 participants were conducted in December 2020. Participants were eligible to be included if they were English-speaking, aged 20-39 years, resided in a specific geolocation, and had access to the internet. A phenomenological research design was used, and data were analysed using a notes-based thematic approach. Several themes emerged as barriers or facilitators to compliance including concern for others, weather, social pressure or influence, and potential shame or guilt. Many participants reported assessing their own risks to determine their level of compliance, and most tried to mitigate harms if they did not follow the measures. The findings from this project fill a current gap in understanding the complex factors that influence compliance to public health infection control measures and offers practical recommendations to inform health promotion strategies to increase compliance not only for COVID-19 measures but for other and future infectious diseases as well.




How to Cite

De Rubeis, V., Desjardins, E., Charron, D., & Roy, R. (2022). Compliance with COVID-19 Public Health Measures: Exploring Perspectives of Younger Adults in Ontario. McMaster University Journal of Public Health, 1(1).