A Survey of Behaviors, Beliefs, and Perceptions of COVID-19 in Rural Appalachian Ohio
Keywords:COVID-19, Survey, FluTEST, Appalachia, Vaccine
Background: Preventing the spread of COVID-19 comes with many challenges. Considering the sociobehavioral effects of social distancing in rural communities specifically is incredibly important. No previous studies have been published about adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures and viewpoints on vaccination/other prevention measures in the rural Appalachian region of Ohio specifically. This present study will describe the results of a survey regarding perceptions of COVID-19 in rural communities.
Methods: A 20-question cross-sectional survey was administered over a 6-week period from February to April 2021. Survey distribution was completed via flyers with QR codes hung at 4 medical offices in Columbiana and Tuscarawas counties. The survey was adapted from the standardized FluTEST survey. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were used for comparison.
Results: We had 23 respondents after removing incomplete/nonconsenting responses. Our data showed that contracting COVID-19 was associated with vaccine distrust. Females and those with health risk factors were found to be more cautious when compared to males and those without risk factors, respectively. Respondents under age 65 years were more likely to trust government health agencies. Those with emotional distress were more likely to take precautions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusion: To prevent widening health inequalities in the particularly vulnerable population of Appalachia, further study with larger sample size should be conducted. This information can be used by health care providers to tailor patient education regarding COVID-19 vaccine administration, treatment, and prevention measures.
Copyright (c) 2023 Sanjay K. A. Jinka, Jay P. Natarajan, Matthew Kubina, Jennifer A. Glover, Julie Nam, Sanaa Mansoor, Charles Leahy, Troy Kotsch, Rebecca Fischbein, Mike Appleman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.