Perceived Threat and Stress Responses in The Face of Covid-19 based on Health Belief Model

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Student Research Committee, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Department of Public Health, School of Health Health Sciences Research Center Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences

4 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences

6 Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine Mashhad University of Medical Sciences


Background and Objective: Coronaviruses (COV) is a large group of viruses that can infect humans and cause diseases ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndrome. Social anxiety and stress responses are an important consequence of the coronavirus outbreak in world. This study aimed to examine key elements related to perceived threat and stress responses in the face of coronavirus based on the health belief model.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted on 200 participants after prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Iran from April to August 2020. The study population were selected through convenience sampling from residents who lived in Razavi Khorasan province, Iran. The survey assessed the participant's demographic information, perceived threat of SARS-CoV-2 infection, stress responses using originally developed assessment scores. 

Results: The mean age of the participants was 31.7 (SD 7.6) years. Many respondents were females (61.5%; n: 123) and age of from 27 to 36 occupied the majority of the population (40.5%; n: 81). The results showed the mean score of perceived threat was 37. 6±3. 9 (37.04-38.15; 95% CI) and the mean scores of stress response was 29.19±8.04 (28.6-30.31; 95% CI). There was a significant relationship between the perceived threat variable and stress responses (r = 0.45, p<0.05).

Conclusions: In the Iran population, perceived susceptibility and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection was very high. This suggests some impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities’ behavioral responses in Iran. The findings of this study would contribute to the timely behavioral assessment of the community benefits to improve the preventative interventions and risk communication strategies during an epidemic.


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