Risk Perception towards COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Qualitative Synthesis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 12;19(8):4649. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19084649.


Several studies have attempted to identify how people's risk perceptions differ in regard to containing COVID-19 infections. The aim of the present review was to illustrate how risk awareness towards COVID-19 predicts people's preventive behaviors and to understand which features are associated with it. For the review, 77 articles found in six different databases (ProQuest, PsycInfo, PubMed, Science Direct, SCOPUS, and Web of Science) were considered, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines was followed, and data synthesis was conducted using a mixed-methods approach. The results indicate that a high-risk perception towards COVID-19 predicts, in general, compliance with preventive behaviors and social distancing measures. Additionally, risk awareness was found to be associated with four other key themes: demographic factors, individual factors, geographical factors, and timing. Therefore, gaining a greater understanding of individual and cultural differences as well as how people behave could be the basis of an effective strategy for raising public risk awareness and for countering COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; health; pandemic; risk perception; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Data Management
  • Humans
  • Perception