Objectives Building individuals’ positive attitudes during a pandemic is essential for facilitating psychological resilience. However, little is known about how public health measures may improve people’s positive attitudes during a pandemic. We investigated the potential mechanism underlying the association between individuals’ perceived effectiveness of public health measures and positive attitudes towards the success of pandemic control during the COVID-19 pandemic, by examining the parallel mediating effects of three types of threat appraisals: concerns about contracting the virus, perceived impact of the pandemic on life and estimated duration of the pandemic.
Design, setting and participants In February 2020 when the COVID-19 infection was spreading rapidly in China, a large cross-sectional survey was conducted among 132 054 adults from the 16 districts in Shanghai, China.
Outcome measures Perceived effectiveness of the public health measures, positive attitudes towards the success of pandemic control and threat appraisals.
Results Results of structural equation modelling supported the hypothesised mediation model: perceived effectiveness of public health measures was associated with lower levels of concerns about contracting the virus (β=−0.20), perceived impact of the pandemic (β=−0.13) and perceived duration of the pandemic (β=−0.20), which were then associated with higher levels of positive attitudes towards the success of pandemic control (βs=−0.12 to −0.25).
Conclusions The findings suggest that threat appraisals may be important pathways through which individuals’ evaluations of prevention strategies may influence their attitudes towards the success of pandemic control. The health authorities should consider reducing people’s inappropriate threat appraisals when designing public health policies to facilitate people’s positive attitudes during a pandemic.
- health policy
- public health
- public health
- social medicine
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. All authors had full access to the data in the study. Sharing of the data of this project will be available on request.
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Contributors YH (email@example.com) and RW (firstname.lastname@example.org) contributed equally to the manuscript as corresponding authors and are the guarantors. QC, YH and RW conceived the study. QC and TG conducted analyses and led the writing. AL and JC managed the data acquisition and conducted literature search. HW and NL contributed to the analyses and results interpretation. All authors contributed to drafting and editing the manuscript. The corresponding author attests that all listed authors meet authorship criteria and that no others meeting the criteria have been omitted. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Funding This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers: 71874111, 81630086, 72004133), the National Key R&D Program of China (grant number: 2018YFC2000700), Shanghai Pujiang Program (grant number: 2020PJC080) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Scientific and Technological Innovation Funds (grant numbers: YG2020YQ01, YG2020YQ06).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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