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Article

Fear of COVID-19 Scale—Associations of Its Scores with Health Literacy and Health-Related Behaviors among Medical Students

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Faculty of Public Health, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh 725-10, Vietnam
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Pham Ngoc Thach Clinic, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh 725-10, Vietnam
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President Office, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh 725-10, Vietnam
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Department of Infectious Diseases, Vietnam Military Medical University, Hanoi 121-08, Vietnam
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Division of Military Science, Military Hospital 103, Hanoi 121-08, Vietnam
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Faculty of Public Health, Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hai Phong 042-12, Vietnam
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President Office, Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hai Phong 042-12, Vietnam
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Institute of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 115-20, Vietnam
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Center for Assessment and Quality Assurance, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 115-20, Vietnam
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Department of Psychiatry, Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Thai Nguyen 241-17, Vietnam
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School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam National University, Hanoi 113-09, Vietnam
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Health Management Training Institute, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Thua Thien Hue 491-20, Vietnam
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Department of Health Economics, Corvinus University of Budapest, 1093 Budapest, Hungary
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Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Can Tho 941-17, Vietnam
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Department of Pharmacy, Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital, Can Tho 941-17, Vietnam
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Global Health Literacy Academy, Viengevej 100, 8240 Risskov, Denmark
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Health Literacy Media, St. Louis, MO 63101, USA
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School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110-31, Taiwan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114164
Received: 6 May 2020 / Revised: 8 June 2020 / Accepted: 9 June 2020 / Published: 11 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Global Health Literacy)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic causes fear, as its immediate consequences for the public have produced unprecedented challenges for the education and healthcare systems. We aimed to validate the fear of COVID-19 scale (FCoV-19S) and examine the association of its scores with health literacy and health-related behaviors among medical students. A cross-sectional study was conducted from 7 to 29 April 2020 on 5423 students at eight universities across Vietnam, including five universities in the North, one university in the Center, two universities in the South. An online survey questionnaire was used to collect data on participants’ characteristics, health literacy, fear of COVID-19 using the FCoV-19S, and health-related behaviors. The results showed that seven items of the FCoV-19S strongly loaded on one component, explained 62.15% of the variance, with good item–scale convergent validity and high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.90). Higher health literacy was associated with lower FCoV-19S scores (coefficient, B, −0.06; 95% confidence interval, 95%CI, −0.08, −0.04; p < 0.001). Older age or last academic years, being men, and being able to pay for medication were associated with lower FCoV-19S scores. Students with higher FCoV-19S scores more likely kept smoking (odds ratio, OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.08, 1.14; p < 0.001) or drinking alcohol (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02, 1.06; p < 0.001) at an unchanged or higher level during the pandemic, as compared to students with lower FCoV-19S scores. In conclusion, the FCoV-19S is valid and reliable in screening for fear of COVID-19. Health literacy was found to protect medical students from fear. Smoking and drinking appeared to have a negative impact on fear of COVID-19. Strategic public health approaches are required to reduce fear and promote healthy lifestyles during the pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: fear of COVID-19; academic year; medical students; psychological health; mental health; health literacy; lifestyles; behaviors; principal component analysis; Vietnam fear of COVID-19; academic year; medical students; psychological health; mental health; health literacy; lifestyles; behaviors; principal component analysis; Vietnam
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nguyen, H.T.; Do, B.N.; Pham, K.M.; Kim, G.B.; Dam, H.T.B.; Nguyen, T.T.; Nguyen, T.T.P.; Nguyen, Y.H.; Sørensen, K.; Pleasant, A.; Duong, T.V. Fear of COVID-19 Scale—Associations of Its Scores with Health Literacy and Health-Related Behaviors among Medical Students. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4164. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114164

AMA Style

Nguyen HT, Do BN, Pham KM, Kim GB, Dam HTB, Nguyen TT, Nguyen TTP, Nguyen YH, Sørensen K, Pleasant A, Duong TV. Fear of COVID-19 Scale—Associations of Its Scores with Health Literacy and Health-Related Behaviors among Medical Students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(11):4164. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114164

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nguyen, Hiep T.; Do, Binh N.; Pham, Khue M.; Kim, Giang B.; Dam, Hoa T.B.; Nguyen, Trung T.; Nguyen, Thao T.P.; Nguyen, Yen H.; Sørensen, Kristine; Pleasant, Andrew; Duong, Tuyen V. 2020. "Fear of COVID-19 Scale—Associations of Its Scores with Health Literacy and Health-Related Behaviors among Medical Students" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 11: 4164. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114164

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