The Effects of Perceived Threat and Efficacy on College Students’ Social Distancing Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Anthony J. Roberto, Xin Zhou, Anya Hommadova Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the impact of perceived threat and efficacy on college students’ social-distancing behavior during COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by the extended parallel process model (EPPM), this longitudinal study included 164 participants who completed a survey at two points in time. Results were consistent with previous theory and research for all danger control hypotheses (i.e., perceived threat predicted fear, fear and self-efficacy predicted intention, and intention predicted future behavior). For fear control, however, results were inconsistent with EPPM predictions, but consistent with previous research (i.e., fear was either unrelated or inversely related to fear control, and efficacy was inversely related to fear control). Overall, the EPPM constructs explained 69% of the variance in intention, 64% of the variance in behavior, 55% of the variance in defensive avoidance, and 20% of the variance in message derogation. The theoretical and practical insights and implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-271
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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