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Open Access How Does Knowledge of Influenza Reduce Flu-like Illness in High Schools?

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Objectives: In this paper, we develop, validate, and utilize a causal theory that knowledge of the flu influences perceptions of the flu, which in turn, influences mitigation behavior, which then influences reported flu-like illness. Methods: Data from 410 students within 6 high schools were used to validate the model and evaluate the role of a student's knowledge and sex on perceptions, behavior, and reported illness. Results: Knowledge of the flu influences perceived risk and susceptibility to the flu as well as perceived barriers to taking precautions and social efficacy, is positively related to taking precautions, and supports a reduction in reports of flu-like illness. Girls exhibit a higher sense of efficacy toward flu mitigation which supports improved hand-washing and respiratory etiquette. Conclusions: Teaching students about the flu reduces flu-like illness by changing how students perceive the flu which supports mitigation efforts.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2017

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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