Chinese public’s knowledge, perceived severity, and perceived controllability of COVID-19 and their associations with emotional and behavioural reactions, social participation, and precautionary behaviour: A national survey

Jianbin LI, An YANG, Kai DOU, Lin-Xin WANG, Ming-Chen ZHANG, Xiao-Qi LIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has caused enormous stress among the public in China. Intellectual input from various aspects is needed to fight against COVID-19, including understanding of the public’s emotion and behaviour and their antecedents from the psychological perspectives. Drawing upon the cognitive appraisal theory, this study examined three cognitive appraisals (i.e., perceived severity, perceived controllability, and knowledge of COVID-19) and their associations with a wide range of emotional and behavioural outcomes among the Chinese public.
Methods: Participants were 4607 citizens (age range: 17–90 years, Mage = 23.71 years) from 31 provinces in China and they took part in a cross-sectional survey online.
Results: The results showed that the public’s emotional and behavioural reactions were slightly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Moreover, the public had limited participation in the events regarding COVID-19 but actively engaged in precautionary behaviour. In addition, results of structural equation model with latent variables revealed that the three appraisals were differentially related to the outcome variables (i.e., negative emotion, positive emotion, sleep problems, aggression, substance use, mobile phone use, social participation, and precautionary behaviour).
Conclusions: The findings highlight the utility of cognitive appraisal, as a core process of coping stress, in explaining the public’s emotion and behaviour in the encounter of public health concern. Practically, the findings facilitate the government and practitioners to design and deliver targeted intervention programs to the public. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number1589
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume20
Early online date21 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Citation

Li, J.-B., Yang, A., Dou, K., Wang, L.-X., Zhang, M.-C., & Lin, X.-Q. (2020). Chinese public’s knowledge, perceived severity, and perceived controllability of COVID-19 and their associations with emotional and behavioural reactions, social participation, and precautionary behaviour: A national survey. BMC Public Health, 20. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09695-1

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Cognitive appraisal
  • Psychological health
  • Social participation
  • Precautionary behaviour

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