The use of the health belief model to assess U.S. college students’ perceptions of COVID-19 and adherence to preventive measures


Background: This study utilized the Health Belief Model to examine college students’ perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examined the extent to which the Health Belief Model and perceived threat are associated with the adoption of COVID-19 preventive measures among college students.
Design and Methods: An online questionnaire was utilized and sent to a simple random sample of college students at a large Midwestern university in the United States between May and July of 2020. The number of undergraduate and graduate students who participated in this study was 1,723.
Results: The study found that the Health Belief Model and perceived threat are significantly associated with COVID-19 preventive measures. College students with higher Health Belief Model scores were more likely to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures than those with lower scores. College students also reported high cues to action and low perceived barriers to most of the COVID-19 preventive measures.
Conclusion: Applying the Health Belief Model is crucial for health professionals and university administrators for developing effective communication messages for COVID-19 prevention and future health outbreaks.


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