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Applying the Health Belief Model and Organization-Public Relationship Quality to Examine COVID-19 Health Behaviors and Public Health Messaging

Aaron Nichols
JHHSA, Vol. 45 No. 2, 118-141 (2022)

In the context of the most severe pandemic in over 100 years, this study examined public health behavior and public health messaging using the health belief model (HBM) and organization-public relationships (OPR) as frameworks. The study employed a cross-sectional survey of students (n = 288) and employees (n = 203) at a large public university in the southeastern United States. First, the study empirically tested the components of the HBM as determinants of engaging in health behaviors meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and, supporting prior HBM research, found all components of the model to be significantly related to engaging in the health behaviors. Next, the study found the relationship between the university's public health messaging and OPR quality to be statistically significant. Additionally, findings indicated that OPR quality was significantly related to engaging in the health behaviors. This study contributes to both theory and practice with significant findings that provide a direction for further translational research utilizing the HBM and OPR to examine public health communication.

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