Communities play an important and active role in preventing and controlling the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Reduction of COVID-19-related barriers and threats perceived by the public should be the top priority in promoting positive preventive behaviors among people. This cross-sectional study aimed at identifying the barriers and threats perceived by public university students in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The students were recruited through a snowball sampling technique, and data were collected using a web-based questionnaire. Data on socio-demographic aspects, perceived barriers, and perceived threats were collected. Perceived barriers were estimated using the Health Belief Model (HBM) questionnaire, and perceived threats were estimated using the patient threat perceptions in the emergency department scale. This study was conducted between March and June 2020. Approximately 50% of the study participants had a high level of perceived barriers and a moderate level of total perceived threats. Notable factors associated with participants’ perceived barriers and threats were age, college type, and monthly income. Perceived barriers, participants’ residence location, and sex were also significantly related to each other. Moreover, perceived barriers were significantly correlated with perceived threats. COVID-19-related perceived barriers and threats ranged from a moderate level to a high level among most of the participating students. Perceived barriers were associated with some of the demographic variables. The findings from this study may help the government in formulating strategies for planning interventions to reduce COVID-19 pandemic propagation.
COVID-19, barriers, threats, students, Saudi Arabia
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