Introduction: Influenza A/H1N1 pandemic has recently threatened the health of world's population more than ever. Non-pharmaceutical measures are important to prevent the spread of influenza A/H1N1 and to prevent a pandemic. Effective influenza pandemic management requires understanding of the factors influencing preventive behavioral. This study reports on predictors of students' preventive behaviors for pandemic influenza A/H1N1 using variables based on the protection motivation theory (PMT).
Materials and methods: In a cross-sectional study, multiple-stage randomized sampling was used to select 300 female students in Isfahan who completed a questionnaire in December 2009. Data were collected using a self-report questionnaire based on PMT. The statistical analysis of the data included bivariate correlations, Mann-Whitney, Kruskal-Wallis, and linear regression.
Results: The mean age of participants was 15.62 (SE = 1.1) years old. Majority of participants were aware regarding pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (87.3%, 262 out of 300). Results showed that, protection motivation was highly significant relationship with preventive behavior and predicted 34% of its variance. We found all of the variables with the exception of perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, and response cost were related with protection motivation and explained 22% of its variance.
Conclusion: Promotion of students' self-efficacy, and intention to protect themselves from a health threat should be priorities of any programs aimed at promoting preventive behaviors among students. It is also concluded that the protection motivation theory may be used in developing countries, like Iran, as a framework for prevention interventions in an attempt to improve the preventive behaviors of students.
Keywords: Influenza A/H1N1; preventive behaviors; protection motivation theory.