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BMC Public Health. 2010 Mar 30;10:174. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-174.

Behavioural intentions in response to an influenza pandemic.

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  • 1Maastricht University, the Netherlands.



Little is known regarding which behavioural responses can be expected if an influenza pandemic were to occur.


A survey comprising questions based on risk perception theories, in particular PMT, was conducted with a Dutch sample.


Although fear that an influenza pandemic may occur was high, participants do not feel well informed. General practitioners and local health authorities were considered trustworthy sources of information and the information considered most urgent pertained to which protective measures should be taken. Participants reported an intention to comply with recommendations regarding protective measures. However, response and self efficacy were low. Maladaptive behaviours can be expected. Increasing numbers of ill individuals and school closures are also expected to lead to a decreased work force. Participants indicated wanting antiviral drugs even if the supply were to be insufficient.


Messages regarding health protective behaviours from local health authorities should anticipate the balance between overreacting and underreacting. Also, when protective recommendations from health professionals conflict with company policies, it is unclear how employees will react.

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