In this study, we developed a risk perception scale to measure cognitive appraisal of adults for COVID-19 threat. This study well evaluated the psychometric properties, validity, and reliability of the Rick-percept COVID-19 scale. This EPPM based study provide a measure for evaluating the items with four elements among Iranian adults. Most importantly, we wanted to make a self-report instrument of risk perception available for Iranian research, allowing for future interventional and cross-cultural assessments. A four-domain was emerged through EFA. Also, a CFA showed acceptable the fit of data. As such, the final Rick-percept COVID-19 contained 29 items, with seven items representing response efficacy, eight items for susceptibility, seven items for self-efficacy, and eight items for severity). Our results indicate that the Rick-percept COVID-19 has sound psychometric properties, good structural validity with acceptable internal consistency across the scale and subscale of the instrument.
During the outbreak of COVID-19, it is important that how people perceive the risk of COVID-19 threat and its effects on their protective behavior. According to EPPM, when people receive a message they initiate two cognitive appraisals; an appraisal of the threat (severity and susceptibility) and an appraisal of the response efficacy. Cognitive appraisal of the threat in our scale was measured with the items such as “Corona is a threat, I think about it” or “I am at risk for getting Corona” (perceived susceptibility) or “Corona is a lethal threat.” (perceived severity). Thus, if people have low perceived susceptibility or/and low perceived severity, they won’t respond to the COVID-19 threat. In contrast, if people think about the COVID-19 threat and percept that they are vulnerable to the threat, it might lead to serious harm, thus, they scared and motivated to healthy practice against the threat. More the stronger perceived the threat, the greater the fear and the persuasive to have protective behavior [29, 30].
When people believe that they are able to perform the recommended response, for example, “It is easy for me to use disinfectants” or “It is easy for me to access masks and disinfectants”, they show high perceived self-efficacy, and they believe that doing health recommendations is effective in preventing Coronavirus” or “staying at home” (recommended response) works in averting the coronavirus threat, they have high perceived response efficacy. It’s seems that intensive people’s perceptions of Coronavirus threat and efficacy motivate them to control the danger . In contrast, if people doubt their ability to perform the recommended response for averting Coronavirus threat (low perceived self-efficacy), they doubt whether the recommended response effectively prevent the threat. Therefore, if they have low perceived response efficacy, they believe that there’s no use in controlling the danger, thus, rather than controlling the danger, they turn around defensive strategies such as “I believe that health staff have highly exaggerated this disease.”
When people block further thoughts about the Coronavirus threat (avoidance response: “when Television or Radio talks about Corona, I flip the channel”, or if they refuse that it is possible they can experience the Coronavirus threat (denial response: “God protects me, even if I don’t follow the health principles of Corona.”, or if they try to pretense that the source of the message deceit people (reactance responses: “I believe that this is a government plan, they are trying to amuse people”), defensive responses occurs .