Risk Perception of Seasonal and Swine Influenza Among University College Students: Does Study Direction Influence Attitudes?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBerg, J. E., Grimeland, J., & Jacobsen, I. W. (2014). Risk Perception of Seasonal and Swine Influenza Among University College Students: Does Study Direction Influence Attitudes?. Journal of Health Science, 2, 89-93. http://www.davidpublishing.com/show.html?15957
In 2009, Norway faced the global challenge of the influenza pandemic. Risk communication isan important tool withinhealthy promoting work. In this study the main aim was to explore reflections of students on the risk assessment of season fluand theswine flu in 2009 according to field of study. A cross-sectional questionnaire survey based on505 students is presented. 42.4%werehealth subject students, and 57.6% were non-health subject related students. The majority of the students were 20-24 years old.Most ofthe respondents were not concerned at beinginfected with the swine flu, and did underestimate the death toll of the common flu.Students were more concerned about the swine flu than the regularseason flu. By logistic regression, the odds ratio for takingthe swineflu vaccine was greater among students who were concerned (O.R.= 2.5). During the swine flu pandemic, student trust towards thehealth authorities was low. Among the students, 74% stated they would consider advicefrom the health authorities, 37% from theirparents and 20% from mass media. Stating risk of getting the common flu was atthe medium or great risk level for far less non-healthstudents than for health students, 38.2% versus 55.6%,P= 0.001. The perceived infection risk was likewise higher in the health studentgroup, 52.4% versus 36.2%,P= 0.001. The respondents had little faith in general public vaccination aswell as beingcritical concerningside effects of vaccination. The results from the study indicated that the students would rather follow advice about their personalhygiene than advice to take the swine flu-vaccine.