The Impact of Trust in the Government on Willingness to Disclose Personal Data in Hong Kong: The Moderating Role of COVID-19 Infection Concern in the Data Disclosure Mediation Model

Chun Hong Tse, Marko M. Skoric


Under COVID-19, there is an increasing demand for collecting health information from citizens by the government. It is commonly argued that there is a positive relationship between trust and willingness to disclose data. This finding has rarely been tested in the context of public health emergencies—for example, during COVID-19, when governments claim that data collection is necessary. Using a web survey result conducted in Hong Kong (N = 906), the moderated mediation model suggested that the indirect effect of trust in the Hong Kong government on citizens’ willingness to disclose personal and health data through the perceived legitimacy of the government’s actions is conditionally affected by COVID-19 infection concern. The direct effect involves normative thinking in considering the social norm of whether the government is legitimate to do so. Under strict law enforcement by the government, it creates an impression that personal concerns outweigh societal benefits, which can be explained by “data egoism,” which would lower the indirect effect onto the willingness to disclose personal and health data. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.


trust, willingness to disclose personal data, privacy, COVID-19 infection concern, Hong Kong, survey

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