COVID-19 preventive behavior was measured using a subset of seven items, selected basing on the item content from the survey part labeled “Changes in the behavior of the population as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”: two items regarding compliance with hygiene recommendations (No. 1: “I started washing my hands more frequently and thoroughly” and No. 3: “I started using disinfectants regularly every day”) and four items regarding social distancing (No. 10: “I avoid leaving home if not necessary,” No. 12: “I tend to stay less frequently in public places,” No. 13: “I try to avoid direct contact with other people,” No. 14: “I try to avoid contact with people not belonging to my household (as often as possible),” No. 15: “I try to maintain social distance in public places”). In the introductory part for these items, participants received the following instructions: “During the state of emergency, the government imposed a number of restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. We are interested in how your behavior has changed since the announcement of the state of emergency, compared to the time before the state of emergency.” All items in this part of the survey were answered on a response scale from 1 to 5 (“Disagree” to “Agree”) and were originally formulated for this survey. The scale exhibited good internal consistency with Cronbach's α = 0.87 in the total sample, α = 0.87 for the Latvian version, and α = 0.88 for the Russian version. An average score was computed to create a composite variable for further analysis.

To evaluate the trust in COVID-19 information sources, respondents were asked: “Please assess the extent to which you personally trust each of the institutions listed below regarding the provided information and behavior recommendations during the state of emergency: (1) Government, (2) News media, (3) Health care system.” The response scale ranges from 1 (“I do not trust this institution at all”) to 10 (“I fully trust this institution”). As the three items were reasonably highly correlated (r = 0.55–0.66, p < 0.001), they were treated as indicators of trust in COVID-19 information sources. The scale exhibited good internal consistency in the total sample (α = 0.83), and for the Latvian (α = 0.83) and Russian versions (α = 0.81). An average score was computed to create a composite variable for further analysis.

To evaluate the fear of COVID-19 respondents were asked the following questions: “Are you afraid that you will contract the coronavirus?” and “Does the possibility that a member of your family could contract the coronavirus and die because of it, make you frightened?” The response scale ranges from 1 to 5 (“Never” to “Very Much”). Because the two questions were highly correlated (r = 0.60, p < 0.001), they were treated as indicators of the fear of COVID-19. The scale exhibited good internal consistency in the total sample (α = 0.74), for the Latvian version (α = 0.73), and for the Russian version (α = 0.77). An average score was computed to create a composite variable for further analysis.

To evaluate the COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs, respondents were asked the following questions: “Do you believe that COVID-19 was created in a laboratory to be used as a biochemical weapon for the extermination of the human population?” and “Do you believe that COVID-19 is a creation of the world's powerful leaders to create a global economic crisis?” The response scale ranged from 1 to 5 (“I don't believe it at all” to “Very much”). As the two questions were highly correlated (r = 0.65, p < 0.001) and we were interested in general conspiracy beliefs about COVID-19, these two items were treated as indicators of the COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs. The scale had good internal consistency in the total sample (α = 0.79)—for the Latvian version (α = 0.81), and for the Russian version (α = 0.76). An average score was calculated to yield a composite variable for further analysis. Questions to assess fear of COVID-19 and COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs were taken from the Mental Health Sector Survey of the Scientific Research Institute of the Pan-Hellenic Medical Association “Assessment of the Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Mental Health”.

To evaluate the COVID-19 threat appraisal, the respondents were asked: “Please assess to what extent you agree with the following statements about COVID-19: (1) The danger of this virus is greatly exaggerated; (2) I am convinced that the situation is not as serious as it is reported by the mass media.” The response scale ranged from 1 to 5 (“Disagree” to “Agree”). Both questions were originally formulated for this survey. A reverse coding was used for both questions so higher scores represent higher threat appraisal. Both questions are highly correlated (r = 0.78, p < 0.001), so were treated as indicators of the COVID-19 threat appraisal. The scale exhibited good internal consistency in the total sample (α = 0.88), for the Latvian version (α = 0.87), and for the Russian version (α = 0.88). An average score was computed to create a composite variable used for further analysis.

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