The role of information sources in mediating the relationship between behavioural responses to COVID-19 and its determinants has hardly been studied. This study fills the knowledge gap with a focus on Zambia, a middle-income country. Data was collected using an online questionnaire. The key independent variables were risk perception of COVID-19, risk perception of the health care system (local and global), and risk perception of the big five global health problems (HIV/AIDS, cancer, injury from road traffic accidents, influenza, and diabetes). Risk perception of the health care system was measured by looking at whether or not the respondents trust the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health (MoH) backed COVID-19 vaccines. The three Independent Variables (IV) of risk perception predicted behavioural response as a Dependent Variable (DV). The behavioural response was found as an average of responses on a five-point Likert scale of questions, relating to safety measures taken by respondents against COVID 19. The relationship between IVs and the DV was hypothesised to be mediated by information sources. Information sources were measured by the frequency with which respondents obtained information about COVID-19 from various sources. A statistically significant positive relationship was found between risk perception of the health system and information sources. The same was not true for the other two independent variables. Further, a statistically significant indirect effect was found between risk perception of health systems and behavioural responses (mediated by information sources). Our findings can be used to influence policy, practice, and scholarship on sources of information for COVID-19 and expected behavioural responses. It is recommended that policy on sources of public health information be directed towards enhancing credible sources of information. Future studies must consider using longitudinal data. The big five health risks should include malaria and tuberculosis (TB), making it the big seven. Corruption’s role in risk perception of health systems should also be explored.
Kaulu, Byrne; Kabala, Edna; Mapoma, Rosemary; and Munyonzwe, Christopher
"Risk Perception, Behavioural Response to COVID-19, and the Mediating Role of Information Sources in Zambia,"
Southern African Journal of Policy and Development: Vol. 5:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/sajpd/vol5/iss1/8