Assessing risk perception and its associated factors of university students in the COVID-19 era
Na He 1
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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Songjiang Municipal Center for Health Promotion, Shanghai, China
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1274
The health belief model states that individuals’ adoption of health behaviors is influenced by one’S risk perception, and health education is often connected with effective management of risk perception. This study was to investigate the factors associated with risk perceptions of china’s university students in the face of an infectious disease outbreak such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), thereby providing scientific basis and implications for constructing targeted health education system.

A cross-sectional survey study covered 3627 participants was conducted in april 2020 in songjiang district, shanghai, china. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed via an online platform, which aims to assess to what degree the factors are associated with students’ risk perceptions of public health emergencies, particularly COVID-19. Descriptive analysis and the chi-square test were used to identify the differences in respondents’ risk perceptions, while factor analysis and logistic regression were used to analyze the public factors associated with risk perceptions.

University students in both high-risk and low-risk regions were likely to have higher risk perception than those of in medium-risk regions, and female students tended to have higher perceptions of risk than male (both P<0.01). University students with high-risk perceptions showed higher sensitivity to public opinion (P=0.002) and disease seriousness (P<0.001). Female students or students in high-risk COVID-19 regions were more concerned about disease seriousness, while those in low-risk regions were more concerned about public opinion.

Female students or students in high-risk and low-risk regions of COVID-19 have higher risk perceptions for COVID-19, and their risk perceptions are identified to be mainly associated with disease seriousness. The risk perception of students in low-risk regions were mainly associated with public opinion. Health departments should take account of different profiles of risk perceptions among varying public groups when promoting and implementing health education under public health emergencies situations.