COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study of Healthcare Students' Perceptions of Life during the Pandemic in the United States and Brazil

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 1;18(17):9217. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18179217.


Societal influences, such as beliefs and behaviors, and their increasing complexity add to the challenges of interactivity promoted by globalization. This study was developed during a virtual global educational exchange experience and designed for research and educational purposes to assess personal social and cultural risk factors for students' COVID-19 personal prevention behavior and perceptions about life during the pandemic, and to inform future educational efforts in intercultural learning for healthcare students. We designed and implemented a cross-sectional anonymous online survey intended to assess social and cultural risk factors for COVID-19 personal prevention behavior and students' perceptions about life during the pandemic in public health and healthcare students in two public universities (United States n = 53; Brazil n = 55). Statistically significant differences existed between the United States and Brazil students in degree type, employment, risk behavior, personal prevention procedures, sanitization perceptions, and views of governmental policies. Cultural and social differences, risk messaging, and lifestyle factors may contribute to disparities in perceptions and behaviors of students around the novel infectious disease, with implications for future global infectious disease control.

Keywords: COVID-19 risk perceptions; health promotion; health risk factors; healthcare students’ perceptions; infection prevention; intercultural learning; international collaboration.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • COVID-19*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Perception
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology