What makes people intend to take protective measures against influenza? Perceived risk, efficacy, or trust in authorities

Am J Infect Control. 2020 Nov;48(11):1298-1304. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.07.029. Epub 2020 Jul 31.


Background: Influenza outbreaks occur annually across the world, causing a global health challenge. This study aims to explore the association between risk perception (perceived severity and perceived probability), perceived efficacy (individual's efficacy and government's efficacy), trust in authorities, and intention to implement influenza protective behaviors.

Methods: The data (N = 1,372) used in this paper comes from the 2013 Taiwan Social Change Survey dataset. Six intentions of protective behaviors (getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, washing hands, avoiding going to public settings, sanitizing home, and eating nutritional supplements) were investigated. Tobit and ordered logistic regressions were used to conduct data analysis.

Results: Respondents were most inclined to washing hands, followed by wearing a mask, avoiding going to public settings, getting vaccine, sanitizing their homes, and eating nutritional supplements. Perceived severity and individual's efficacy were positively correlated with all 6 behavioral intentions. Trust in authorities has positive effect on all the protective behaviors except sanitizing home. Moreover, perceived probability has positive relationships with overall intention, intention to wear mask, and intention to wash hands. Government's efficacy was only positively correlated with eating nutritional supplements.

Conclusions: Perceived severity and perceived response efficacy towards flu, as well as trust in authorities were relatively important factors in motivating people's intention to adopt influenza protective behaviors.

Keywords: General trust; Intention; Pandemic; Perceived efficacy; Protective behavior; Risk perception.