Understanding Knowledge and Behaviors Related to CoViD-19 Epidemic in Italian Undergraduate Students: The EPICO Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 16;17(10):3481. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17103481.


Background: On February 2020, the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic began in Italy. In order to contain the spread of the virus, the Italian government adopted emergency measures nationwide, including closure of schools and universities, workplaces and subsequently lockdown. This survey was carried out among Italian undergraduates to explore their level of knowledge about the epidemic and the behaviors they adopted during the lockdown. Methods: An electronic questionnaire was administered to the students attending three Italian universities. Results: A good level of knowledge about the epidemic and its control was registered in the sample, mainly among students attending life sciences degree courses. The majority of the students did not modify their diet and smoking habits, while a great part of the sample reported a decrease in physical activity (PA). Conclusions: Students from life sciences courses showed a higher awareness regarding the infection and the control measures. The lockdown caused an important reduction of PA. Preventive interventions should transform the restrictive measures also as an opportunity to improve lifestyle.

Keywords: CoViD−19; behaviors; knowledge; quarantine; undergraduates.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult