Public risk perceptions and preventive behaviors during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic

Yushim Kim, Wei Zhong, Megan Jehn, Lauren Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objective This study examines the public perception of the 2009 H1N1 influenza risk and its association with flu-related knowledge, social contexts, and preventive behaviors during the second wave of the influenza outbreak in Arizona. Methods Statistical analyses were conducted on survey data, which were collected from a random-digit telephone survey of the general public in Arizona in October 2009. Results The public perceived different levels of risk regarding the likelihood and their concern about contracting the 2009 H1N1 flu. These measures of risk perception were primarily correlated with people of Hispanic ethnicity, having children in the household, and recent seasonal flu experience in the previous year. The perceived likelihood was not strongly associated with preventive behaviors, whereas the perceived concern was significantly associated with precautionary and preparatory behaviors. The association between perceived concern and precautionary behavior persisted after controlling for demographic characteristics. Conclusions Pandemic preparedness and response efforts need to incorporate these findings to help develop effective risk communication strategies that properly induce preventive behaviors among the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 17 2015


  • 2009 H1N1 influenza
  • preventive behavior
  • risk perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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