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The Role of Institutional Trust in Medical Care Seeking during the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Wong, Li Ping
  • Wu, Qunhong
  • Hao, Yanhua
  • Chen, Xi
  • Chen, Zhuo
  • Alias, Haridah
  • Shen, Mingwang
  • Hu, Jingcen
  • Duan, Shiwei
  • Zhang, Jinjie
  • Han, Liyuan


This paper investigates the associations between institution trust and public response to the COVID-19 outbreak. An Internet-based, cross-sectional survey was administered on January 29, 2020 to the epicenter Hubei province, China. A total of 4,393 adults who ≥18 years of age and residing or working in the province of Hubei were included in the study. The majority of the participants expressed a higher level of trust in the information and preventive instructions provided by the central government than by the local government. Being under quarantine (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.80–3.08) and having a high institutional trust score (OR = 2.23, 95% CI 1.96–2.53) were both strong and significant determinants of higher preventive behavior scores. The majority of study participants (85.7%, n = 3,640) reported that they would seek hospital treatment if they suspected themselves to have been infected with COVID-19. Few of the participants from Wuhan (16.6%, n = 475) and those participants who were under quarantine (13.8%, n = 550) expressed an unwillingness to seek hospital treatment. Institutional trust is an important factor influencing adequate preventive behavior and seeking formal medical care during an outbreak.

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  • Wong, Li Ping & Wu, Qunhong & Hao, Yanhua & Chen, Xi & Chen, Zhuo & Alias, Haridah & Shen, Mingwang & Hu, Jingcen & Duan, Shiwei & Zhang, Jinjie & Han, Liyuan, 2020. "The Role of Institutional Trust in Medical Care Seeking during the COVID-19 Pandemic," GLO Discussion Paper Series 558, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:558

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    1. Vaughan, E. & Tinker, T., 2009. "Effective health risk communication about pandemic influenza for vulnerable populations," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 99(S2), pages 324-332.
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