Background: In the context of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, adherence to suggested precautionary measures has been highlighted to be extremely important in preventing and curtailing the spread of COVID-19 . However, strict adherence to precautionary measures could be very demanding . Materials and
Method: This cluster randomized controlled trial done among 1517 undergraduate dental students tested the effectiveness of ‘ Dissonance Induction ’ (DI) and ‘ Assessment Reactivity ’ (AR) in improving adherence to WHO suggested COVID-19 precautionary measures as compared to a control group . At baseline, participants in the DI group were tested for their knowledge on COVID-19 precautionary measures, immediately followed by assessment of their adherence to these precautionary measures . This methodology was adapted so as to systematically reveal to the participants the poor adherence to their self-held cognitions, should there be any . The magnitude of dissonance was measured as the proportion of such dissonant cognitions held by an individual . In the AR group, at baseline, participants were inquired about their attitudes alone towards COVID-19 precautionary measures . The control group was neither assessed for knowledge and adherence nor for attitudes towards the precautionary measures at baseline . Two weeks after the administration of the aforementioned interventions in the DI and AR groups, the three study groups were assessed for adherence to COVID-19 precautionary measures .
Results: The follow-up adherence scores in the DI group were found to be significantly higher (15.11±4.1) compared to the AR (13.13±2.01) and control (12.87±2.97) groups as analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA (H=243.5; P <0.001). Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed that the adherence scores significantly improved in the DI group from baseline to follow-up (z=-8.84; P <0.001). Magnitude of dissonance at baseline was found to be a significant predictor of follow-up adherence scores (R2=0.255). Conclusion: This study found that ‘ dissonance induction ’ is an easy to administer intervention in this moment of global crisis to bring an immediate and significant change in the people's adherence to COVID-19 precautionary measures.