Knowledge and worry as basis for different behaviors among university students: the case of Pandemic Flu H1N1v


Introduction. Attitudes towards the pandemic were different across countries and cultures and confounding news caused some to question whether unnecessary alarm and public panic resulted. The aim of this study was to detect behavior, perception and worry about pandemic flu among undergraduate students considered a group at major risk to contract and spread the infection. Materials and methods. In November 2009, during the pandemic peak in Italy, we conducted a survey about pandemic flu by means of anonymous multiple choice self-administered questionnaires among students, attending different courses at the Tor Vergata University in Rome. To investigate the relationship between the level of concern about H1N1v and the attitude to prevention the sample was divided in three groups based on the level of the declared worry. Results. Among the 436 students that answer the questionnaires a statistical correlation was found between the level of worry and the disposition to change habits and the will to undergo vaccination. Males were less worried than females and more students living outside Rome would accept the vaccine. Discussion and conclusions. The results of the study, generally in agreement with those of similar research, confirmed the need to know the relationship between fear and attitude in order to organize effective preventive campaigns.