Communication Faculty Publications and Presentations

Risk Perception and Preventive Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic : Testing the Effects of Government Trust and Information Behaviors

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Given the absence of COVID-19 treatments, the best way to control the spread of the virus is to break the chain of infection by increasing public participation in preventive behaviors recommended by health authorities. This study proposes a moderated mediation model of information behaviors (e.g. information seeking and information verification) and trust in government that explores the relationship between risk perception and preventive behaviors regarding COVID-19. Using a survey study in South Korea, we conducted the moderated mediation analysis with latent moderated structural equation modeling (LMS). We found serial mediation effects for risk perception, information behaviors, and preventive behaviors, as people both seek out information and verify that information before adopting preventive behaviors. Additionally, trust in government moderated information behaviors in the relationship between risk perception and preventive behaviors, suggesting that trust in government encourages people to adopt more preventive actions via information seeking and information verification. Further implications are discussed to promote public understanding of the health crisis and public participation in preventive measures.


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Health Communication