Factors influencing the protective behavior of individuals during COVID-19: a transnational survey

Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 4;11(1):21654. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-01239-w.


To slow the spread of infectious disease, it is crucial to understand the engagement of protective behavior among individuals. The purpose of this study was to systematically examine individuals' protective behaviors and the associated factors across countries during COVID-19. This causal-comparative study used a self-developed online survey to assess individuals' level of engagement with six protective behaviors. Analysis of variance and McNemar's test were employed for data analysis. Three hundred and eighty-four responses were analyzed. The majority of participants lived in three areas: Taiwan, Japan, and North America. Overall, the participants reported a high level of engagement in protective behaviors. However, engagement levels varied according to several demographic variables. Hand hygiene and cleaning/ventilation are two independent behaviors that differ from almost all other protective behaviors. There is a need to target the population at risk, which demonstrates low compliance. Different strategies are needed to promote specific protective behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hand Hygiene / trends
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Distancing
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires