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A Social‐Cognitive Model of Pandemic Influenza H1N1 Risk Perception and Recommended Behaviors in Italy


  • Gabriele Prati
  • Luca Pietrantoni
  • Bruna Zani


The outbreak of the pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) between March and April 2009 challenged the health services around the world. Indeed, misconceptions and worries have led the public to refuse to comply with precautionary measures. Moreover, there have been limited efforts to develop models incorporating cognitive, social‐contextual, and affective factors as predictors of compliance with recommended behaviors. The aim of this study was to apply a social‐cognitive model of risk perception and individual response to pandemic influenza H1N1 in a representative sample of Italian population. A sample of 1,010 Italians of at least 18 years of age took part in a telephone survey. The survey included measures of perceived preparedness of institutions, family members and friends’ levels of worry, exposure to media campaigns (social‐contextual factors), perceived coping efficacy, likelihood of infection, perceived seriousness, personal impact, and severity of illness (cognitive evaluations), affective response and compliance with recommended behaviors. Results demonstrated that affective response fully mediated the relationship between cognitive evaluations and social‐contextual factors (with the exception of exposure to media campaigns) and compliance with recommended behaviors. Perceived coping efficacy and preparedness of institutions were not related to compliance with recommended behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriele Prati & Luca Pietrantoni & Bruna Zani, 2011. "A Social‐Cognitive Model of Pandemic Influenza H1N1 Risk Perception and Recommended Behaviors in Italy," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(4), pages 645-656, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:riskan:v:31:y:2011:i:4:p:645-656
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01529.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jennifer E. C. Lee & Louise Lemyre, 2009. "A Social‐Cognitive Perspective of Terrorism Risk Perception and Individual Response in Canada," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 29(9), pages 1265-1280, September.
    2. Paul Slovic & Melissa L. Finucane & Ellen Peters & Donald G. MacGregor, 2004. "Risk as Analysis and Risk as Feelings: Some Thoughts about Affect, Reason, Risk, and Rationality," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 24(2), pages 311-322, April.
    3. Michael Siegrist & Heinz Gutscher, 2008. "Natural Hazards and Motivation for Mitigation Behavior: People Cannot Predict the Affect Evoked by a Severe Flood," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 28(3), pages 771-778, June.
    4. Clifford W. Scherer & Hichang Cho, 2003. "A Social Network Contagion Theory of Risk Perception," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 23(2), pages 261-267, April.
    5. Carmen Keller & Michael Siegrist & Heinz Gutscher, 2006. "The Role of the Affect and Availability Heuristics in Risk Communication," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 26(3), pages 631-639, June.
    6. James Holland Jones & Marcel Salathé, 2009. "Early Assessment of Anxiety and Behavioral Response to Novel Swine-Origin Influenza A(H1N1)," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 4(12), pages 1-8, December.
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Swine Influenza (H1N1)


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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriele Prati & Luca Pietrantoni, 2016. "Knowledge, Risk Perceptions, and Xenophobic Attitudes: Evidence from Italy During the Ebola Outbreak," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 36(10), pages 2000-2010, October.
    2. Michael Siegrist & Bernadette Sütterlin, 2014. "Human and Nature‐Caused Hazards: The Affect Heuristic Causes Biased Decisions," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 34(8), pages 1482-1494, August.
    3. Amir Hassan Zadeh & Hamed M. Zolbanin & Ramesh Sharda & Dursun Delen, 2019. "Social Media for Nowcasting Flu Activity: Spatio-Temporal Big Data Analysis," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 743-760, August.
    4. Nien‐Tsu Nancy Chen, 2015. "Predicting Vaccination Intention and Benefit and Risk Perceptions: The Incorporation of Affect, Trust, and Television Influence in a Dual‐Mode Model," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 35(7), pages 1268-1280, July.
    5. Tianjun Feng & L. Robin Keller & Ping Wu & Yifan Xu, 2014. "An Empirical Study of the Toxic Capsule Crisis in China: Risk Perceptions and Behavioral Responses," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 34(4), pages 698-710, April.

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