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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(22)2022 Nov 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2110062


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disastrous impacts that impose the cultivation of knowledge and motivation of self-protection to foster disease containment. AIM: Evaluate the effect of digital self-learned educational intervention about COVID-19 using the protection motivation theory (PMT) on non-health students' knowledge and self-protective behaviors at Saudi Electronic University (SEU). METHODS: A quasi-experimental study was accomplished at three randomly chosen branches of SEU (Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah) using a multistage sampling technique to conveniently select 219 students. An electronic self-administered questionnaire was used, which included three scales for assessing the students' knowledge, self-protective behaviors, and the constructs of the PMT. The educational intervention was designed using four stages: need assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. A peer-reviewed digital educational content was developed after assessing the participants' educational needs using the pretest. Then, distributed through their university emails. A weekly synchronous Zoom cloud meeting and daily key health messages were shared with them. Finally, the post-test was conducted after two months. RESULTS: The mean participants' age (SD) among the experimental group was 28.94 (6.719), and the control group was 27.80 (7.256), with a high female percentage (63.4%, 73.8%) and a previous history of direct contact with verified COVID-19 patients (78.6%, 69.2%), respectively. A significant positive mean change (p = 0.000) was detected in the total COVID-19 knowledge of the experimental group post-intervention, either when it was adjusted for the covariates effect of the control group (F1 = 630.547) or the pretest (F1 = 8.585) with a large effect size (η2 = 0.745, η2 = 0.268, respectively). The same was proved by the ANCOVA test for the total self-protective behaviors either when it adjusted for the covariates effect of the control group (F1 = 66.671, p = 0.000) or the pretest (F1 = 5.873, p = 0.020) with a large effect size (η2 = 0.236, η2 = 0.164, respectively). The ANCOVA test proved that post-intervention, all the PMT constructs (perceived threats, reward appraisal, efficacy appraisal, response cost, and protection intention) and the total PMT score were significantly improved (p = 0.000) among the experimental group either when adjusted for the covariates effect of the control group (F1 = 83.835) or the pretest (F1 = 11.658) with a large effect size (η2 = 0.280, η2 = 0.561, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The digital PMT-based self-learned educational intervention effectively boosts non-health university students' COVID-19 knowledge, protection motivation, and self-protective behaviors. Thus, PMT is highly praised as a basis for COVID-19-related educational intervention and, on similar occasions, future outbreaks.

COVID-19 , Motivation , Humans , Female , Universities , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics , Saudi Arabia/epidemiology , Self Efficacy , Students , Electronics