This online study aimed to investigate the attitude, practice, and perceived self-efficacy towards coronavirus preventive behaviors. The results indicated the subjects’ positive attitude and self-efficacy and proper practice towards coronavirus preventive behaviors, which is consistent with the results of Shahnazi’s (2020) study(12). Having a positive attitude and self-efficacy and proper practice towards this disease can probably play an important role in controlling, preventing its spread and reducing its prevalence. A study in Indonesia was conducted to examine individuals’ knowledge, attitude, and practice towards social distance as a solution to prevent coronavirus, the results of which showed that most people had a positive attitude and proper practice towards coronavirus preventive behaviors(13). The results of Khasawneh’s (2020) study in Jordan showed that medical students had an appropriate level of knowledge, attitude, and practice towards coronavirus prevention(14). The results of a study in Ethiopia also showed that most of the subjects had high knowledge and self-efficacy regarding coronavirus prevention(15), which is consistent with the present study. Goni et al. (2019) in their study in Malaysia entitled “Assessing the knowledge, attitude, and practice of Hajj pilgrims towards prevention of respiratory infections”, reported that although the subjects had high knowledge about respiratory infections, their attitude and practice was not appropriate, which is not in line with the results of the present study(16). The difference between this study and the present study can be due to different study population and tools. Moreover, they measured the pilgrims’ knowledge, attitude, and practice about all respiratory infections and was performed prior to COVIID-19 outbreak.
In the present study, a direct and significant relationship was observed between gender with perceived self-efficacy and practice, so that females had better self-efficacy and practice in coronavirus preventive behaviors than males. This result is consistent with the results of Goni (2019) and Kebede (2020)(15, 16). The results of a study conducted in Iran to evaluate COVID-19 preventive behaviors based on the Health Belief Model showed that the mean score of COVID-19 preventive behaviors in females was higher than males(12). In another study by Love et al. on the H1N1 pandemic in men and women in Hong Kong, women performed better than men in preventing the disease(17), which is consistent with the results of the above study. A study in Sudan also reported that women took more preventive measures than men in protecting themselves and others against coronavirus(18). This result may be due to women’s role in the family as a wife or mother, who are more motivated to protect themselves than men; therefore, they showed better self-efficacy and practice in preventing coronavirus than men.
The results of the present study showed that occupation is one of the predictors and influential variables on the individuals’ practice towards coronavirus preventive behaviors. The results also showed that employees had higher perceived self-efficacy regarding coronavirus preventive behaviors than self-employed subjects. Yanti (2020) reported that government employees had a better attitude and behavior towards coronavirus prevention than other occupations(13). Kebede’s (2020) study also reported that employees had more preventive behaviors against coronavirus than self-employed subjects and occupation was a positive predictor of coronavirus preventive behaviors, which is consistent with the results of the present study(15).
In the current study, there was no significant relationship between the individuals’ education level with attitudes, practice, and perceived self-efficacy, which is not in line with the results of Yanti’s (2020) study(13). In this study, people with higher education showed a positive attitude and appropriate behavior towards social distance for corona prevention. In Kebede’s (2020) study, people with higher education had better self-efficacy and practice regarding coronavirus prevention(15). A study in the US conducted on the evaluation of COVID-19-related knowledge, attitude, and practice among chronically ill adults reported that people with limited health literacy had poorer attitudes towards corona disease(19). Another study in Peru showed that people with higher education reported a better understanding of COVID-19 control measures and preventive strategies(20). The difference between the findings of the above studies and the present study is due to the type of education level division in the present study. In terms of education, the subjects were divided into two categories: academic and non-academic, and due to the type of sampling in the present study, which was online, 75% of the research units included people with academic literacy.
The results indicated that self-efficacy and attitude are the most important predictors of the individuals' practice towards coronavirus preventive behaviors. In Goni’s (2019) study, a significant and positive relationship was reported between the attitude and practice of pilgrims in preventing respiratory infections(16). The results of Carico’s (2020) study in the US showed that perceived self-efficacy is an important factor in reinforcing COVID-19-preventive behaviors, such as social distance and staying at home(21). Shahnazi’s (2020) study in Golestan also showed that perceived self-efficacy is a predictor of practice in preventing coronavirus(12), which is consistent with the results of the present study.
An individual’s attitude predicts his/her behavior. Considering whether something is good or bad will affect an individual’s practice, and the type of attitude can determine his/her practice. Health behaviors are affected by external factors and internal factors, such as knowledge and awareness, perception, attitude, emotions, motivation. Discovering a new infectious disease may increase motivational pressures and cause behavioral change(13). Self-efficacy is also a mediator between knowledge and behavior and an important prerequisite for behavior change and is in fact, the confidence that an individual has in his/her ability to perform a behavior(22). Self-efficacy is increasingly associated with health behaviors changes and is a strong predictor of health-promoting behaviors. Regarding coronavirus, increased self-efficacy has been associated with a decrease in the virus prevalence(18).
One of the limitations was performing the study online due to the limitations caused by the virus. As a result, random sampling was not possible and people with lower literacy, lower economic status or older people may not have access to smartphones and, therefore, they not be studied.