Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic in an Iranian Sample: Health Beliefs and Respondent Characteristics Associated with Preventive Behaviors


Coronavirus, COVID-19, preventive behavior, Health Belief Model


Background: In the absence of effective treatment and successful vaccines, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a grave threat to public health. The present study aimed to investigate health beliefs and sample characteristics associated with COVID-19 preventive health behaviors among an Iranian sample.  Methods: This is a cross-sectional study, using a multi-stage randomized sampling method.  Participants (N = 250 males and 236 females) were recruited from health centers in a major Iranian city. Self-administered questionnaires included sociodemographic information, health behaviors, and constructs associated with the Health Beliefs Model (HBM). Data were analyzed using independent t-tests, analysis of variance, and multiple regression with significance level set at α ≤ 0.05.  Results: Perceived disease susceptibility (β=0.44, P<0.001), self-efficacy to enact preventative behaviors (β=0.24, P<0.01), education (β=0.20, P<0.001), non-smoking status (β=0.14, P<0.01), marital status (β=0.10, P<0.03), and perceived barriers to disease preventative behaviors (β=-0.10, P<0.04) were important predictors of prevention practices for COVID-19, and accounted for 61.4% (adjusted R2) of the variance associated with preventive behavior for COVID-19.  Conclusion:  As there is accepted therapy for COVID-19, it is especially important to control COVID-19 through behavior change.  Results indicate that two behavioral constructs that have the most impact on prevention are perceived disease susceptibility and self-efficacy.  Therefore, public health initiatives are needed to enhance perceived susceptibility to the disease and improve self-efficacy to perform preventative behaviors in spite of perceived barriers.


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