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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 579-585

Factors associated with knowledge and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic among future health science professionals: A logistic model analysis


1 Academic Department, Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, Lima, Peru
2 Academic Department, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, Lima, Peru, Lima, Peru
3 Academic Department of Rehabilitating Stomatology, Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru
4 Academic Department, Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, Lima, Peru; Postgraduate Department, CHANGE Research Working Group, Faculty of Health of Sciences, Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima, Peru

Date of Submission23-May-2021
Date of Decision20-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Frank Mayta-Tovalino
Postgraduate Department, Faculty of Stomatology, Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, and Universidad Científica del Sur, Av. Paseo de la República 5544, Miraflores 15074.
Peru
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JIOH.JIOH_121_21

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  Abstract 

Aim: This study aimed to determine the factors associated with knowledge and perceptions regarding the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic among undergraduate students in different health science fields. Materials and Methods: An analytical, cross-sectional, prospective study was conducted. Data were collected between January and March 2021, from health science undergraduate students attending Federico Villarreal National University in Peru. To calculate the sample size, a formula to estimate a proportion was applied using Stata 15 software (n = 527). The examined factors were faculty, year of study, gender, region, residence, living with parents, and having family members infected with COVID-19, which were analyzed using a logit model to identify the impact of the intervening variables with a significance of P < 0.05. Results: None of the variables studied were found to affect knowledge and perceptions regarding COVID-19 preventive measures among Peruvian health science students, with the following odds ratios (OR) obtained: faculty (OR = 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83–1.12), year of study (OR = 0.98; CI: 0.77–1.25), gender (OR = 1.12; CI: 0.54–2.28), region (OR = 1.32; CI: 0.35–4.78), residence (OR = 0.97; CI: 0.48–1.95), living with parents (OR = 1.5; CI: 0.52–4.39), and having infected family members (OR = 1.5; CI: 0.64–3.49). Conclusion: The results of this study show that students at a Peruvian public university have adequate knowledge and perceptions regarding preventive strategies to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. In addition, none of the examined factors were significant in this relationship.

Keywords: COVID-19, Health Sciences, Knowledge, Pandemic, Perception


How to cite this article:
Chuquimez C, De la Cruz J, Alvitez-Temoche D, Temoche A, Munive-Degregori A, Mayta-Tovalino F. Factors associated with knowledge and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic among future health science professionals: A logistic model analysis. J Int Oral Health 2021;13:579-85

How to cite this URL:
Chuquimez C, De la Cruz J, Alvitez-Temoche D, Temoche A, Munive-Degregori A, Mayta-Tovalino F. Factors associated with knowledge and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic among future health science professionals: A logistic model analysis. J Int Oral Health [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 27];13:579-85. Available from: https://www.jioh.org/text.asp?2021/13/6/579/331578


  Introduction Top


In December 2019, in Wuhan, China, cases began to be reported of which, at the time, was believed to be a type of pneumonia, with initial symptoms similar to that of the flu (e.g., high fever, dry cough, and general malaise), but that could be complicated by respiratory distress, chest tightness, joint pain, diarrhea, and loss of smell, taste, and appetite. However, the cause of this condition was then unknown.[1] Several weeks later, SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., severe acute respiratory syndrome, produced by coronavirus 2), a novel RNA virus of the coronavirus family which causes coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), was identified. COVID-19 spread rapidly, causing a large number of infections and deaths worldwide.[2] On March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). As of February 22, 2021, WHO had reported a total of 111,102,016 accumulated COVID-19 cases, with 1,275,899 total confirmed cases in Peru.[3]

COVID-19 is transmitted directly from person-to-person through sneezing or coughing and by contact with oral and nasal membranes.[4],[5] Future health science professionals are a high-risk population for contracting and spreading this virus, because they will be exposed to fluids, mucous membranes, microorganisms, and patient secretions, and will likely come in contact with contaminated materials and rooms.[6],[7],[8] Given their potential exposure to such risk factors, it is vital for all health science students and future professionals to have accurate knowledge and perceptions regarding preventive strategies to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19; however, it is also essential for them to know the associated factors that influence the development of the virus.[9],[10]

This study aimed to determine the factors associated with knowledge and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic among undergraduate students from different health science fields.


  Materials and Methods Top


Sample size

An analytical, cross-sectional, prospective study was conducted. Participants comprised university students from different health science fields. Data were collected from Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (UNFV) from January to March 2021. To calculate the sample size, the formula for estimating the proportion was applied using the Stata 15 program (n = 527 students). The calculation of the sample was carried out through a pilot study from which the proportions that were analyzed with a beta of 0.8 and an alpha of 0.05 were obtained. Because it was a virtual survey, the 527 students could be evaluated in 3 months. Finally, for this study, the STROBE guidelines (that is, Strengthening the Report of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) were followed.

When selecting participants, inclusion criteria were as follows: students of any gender, those who were enrolled in the 2021 academic year, who provided signed informed consent, and those who were studying health sciences at UNFV. The exclusion criteria of the study were students who did not want to participate, had already graduated or who had Internet connection problems.

Associated factors

The factors considered when evaluating participants’ knowledge and perceptions regarding COVID-19 were faculty (X1), year of study (X2), gender (X3), region (X4), residence (X5), living with parents (X8), and having infected family members (X7). These factors were analyzed using a logit model to identify the influence of the intervening variables with a value of P < 0.05.

Data collection and measurements

Data were obtained from health sciences students using a questionnaire previously validated by Gohel et al.[9] The questionnaire has two dimensions, each with 12 questions. The first dimension is related to knowledge about COVID-19, whereas the second dimension is related to perceptions of COVID-19. The database was prepared, and the collected information was analyzed. The questionnaire was prepared using current WHO reports on COVID-19. The questionnaire has shown face and content validity. Six topics were used to evaluate related factors.

Statistical analysis

For the univariate analysis, descriptive statistics of the qualitative and quantitative variables distributed in frequency tables were obtained. To calculate the normality of the numerical variables, the Kolmogorov−Smirnov test was used. Next, to determine the associated factors, a logistic regression model with respective odds ratios (OR) was used. All analyses were conducted using Stata 15 statistical software. The significance level was set at P > 005.


  Results Top


Regarding participant characteristics, the highest proportion was composed of dentistry, psychology, and medicine students, with 56.7%, 14.6%, and 9.9% of the total sample, respectively. As for year of study, 30.9% were in their fourth year. Women were more prevalent in the sample than men, comprising 71.5%. Regarding place of residence, 94.9% of the sample lived in the coastal region, with 84.1% of the total sample residing in urban areas. In addition, 86.3% of the students currently lived with their parents, and 77.2% had relatives or acquaintances who had previously contracted COVID-19 [Table 1].
Table 1: Descriptive characteristics of the variables corresponding to Peruvian undergraduate students

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As shown in [Table 2], the results only indicated a statistically significant association between gender in participants from all health science fields and Q1 (i.e., Where did you first hear about COVID-19?), P = 0.001. The other questions that evaluated students’ knowledge regarding COVID-19 were not associated with gender, P > 0.05.
Table 2: Level of knowledge of undergraduate health sciences students about COVID-19

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Further, [Table 3] shows the results regarding participants’ perceptions of COVID-19. The results indicated that there was only a statistically significant association between gender in participants from all health science fields and question Q8 (i.e., Can an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?), P = 0.002.
Table 3: Level of perception of undergraduate health sciences students about COVID-19

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In the logistic regression analysis, no variables were found to be associated with health science students’ knowledge levels regarding COVID-19, with the following results obtained: faculty (OR = 0.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83–1.12), year of study (OR = 0.9; CI: 0.77−1.25), gender (OR = 1.1; CI: 0.54–2.28), region (OR = 1.3; CI: 0.35–4.78), residence (OR = 0.9; CI: 0.48–1.95), living with parents (OR = 1.5; CI: 0.52–4.39), and having infected family members (OR = 1.5; CI: 0.64–3.49; [Table 4]).
Table 4: Multifactorial logistic regression analysis of perception and Knowledge of undergraduate health sciences students about COVID-19

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Similarly, no variables were found to be associated with health science students’ perceptions of COVID-19, with the following results obtained: faculty (OR = 0.9; CI: 0.85–1.09), year of study (OR = 0.9; CI: 0.76−1.10), gender (OR = 0.8; CI: 0.50–1.47), region (OR = 1.1; CI: 0.44–2.96), residence (OR = 1.1; CI: 0.64–2.04), living with parents (OR = 1.0; CI: 0.48–2.09), and having infected family members (OR = 1.6; CI: 0.84–3.16).


  Discussion Top


The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal development of daily activities, including academic activities at universities.[11] College students have been overexposed to various types of information regarding the pandemic, including conspiracy theories and inaccurate or false information.[12] In this study, students were asked to show their knowledge regarding COVID-19, its viral transmission, and its characteristics, and the results showed values similar to or higher than those obtained in Elhadi et al.[13]

In particular, in this study’s population, 71% could accurately identify the name of the virus, 98.9% considered it to be contagious, 85.7% knew its incubation period, 81.7% could identify the populations most vulnerable to the virus, 34.6% knew that its transmission method is person-to-person, 47% recognized that it is transmitted via by respiratory droplets, and 76.6% could identify the relevant diagnostic tests. In addition, the impact of social networks (39.8%) and television (51.9%) should be noted, as these were the sources from which students first learned about COVID-19.

In Hatabu et al.,[14] the results regarding students’ knowledge levels were also high, as was found in this study; however, they found that national students at Japanese universities had greater knowledge levels compared to foreign students (OR = 3.3; CI 1.3−8.3). However, Barret et al.[15] found a significant negative correlation in men compared to women regarding hand hygiene (P < 0.01), as well as in behavior and risk perception (P < 0.01). The high knowledge levels may be due to the large amount of information disseminated on social networks and television, in addition to the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on daily and educational life. The present results were also consistent with Kopp et al.,[16] in which health science students showed that they could satisfactorily participate in disease control through electronic and virtual means in patients and the general community.

Furthermore, in a study of health science students from Ecuador, Lincango-Naranjo[17] also found results similar to this study, although it is important to note the participants’ pessimistic attitudes toward the ability of the authorities to control the pandemic (23%), a situation that could be replicated in Peru due to the scenario of political instability and general elections, in addition to being one of the countries most affected by the pandemic. This previous study observed that students’ health science field of study was not a factor that affected their knowledge and perceptions regarding infection prevention (OR = 0.96; CI: 0.83– 1.12), and neither was year of study (OR = 0.98; CI: 0.77−1.25), gender (OR = 1.12; CI: 0.54−2.28), region (OR = 1.32; CI: 0.35−4.78), residence (OR = 0.97; CI: 0.48−1.95), living with parents (OR = 1.5; CI: 0.52–4.39), and if they had relatives infected by COVID-19 (OR = 1.5; CI: 0.64−3.49).

The main limitation was that it was carried out only with health science students in a purely virtual environment; therefore, the integrity and veracity of the questions could have been affected by different factors. This could lead to a possible bias in the collection of the evaluated data. However, in this study, selection criteria were applied so that only students who had the commitment to collaborate for the survey were included in this research. Finally, it is recommended that future longitudinal research [18, 19, 20] should be conducted to authenticate the relationship between the different associated factors and their impact on knowledge and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic among young health science professionals in the process of receiving their undergraduate education.

Conclusion

The results of this study showed that students at a Peruvian public university had adequate knowledge and perceptions regarding preventive strategies to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. In addition, none of the examined factors were found to be significant in this relationship.

Acknowledgement

We wish to thank the Faculty of Dentistry of the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal and Universidad Cientifica del Sur.

Financial support and sponsorship

This work was partially funded by the Vice-rectorate of Research of the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal to carry out this study con Código RN° 7802-2020-CU-UNFV.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Authors’ contributions

CC, JD, and FMT contributed to the study conception of the paper. FMT, CC, and JD contributed to the data collection. DAT, FMT, JA, and AT contributed to the data acquisition and analysis. AMD, DAT, JA, and FMT were involved in data interpretation. FMT, AMD, AT, and JA were involved in manuscript writing.

Ethical policy and institutional review board statement

The study was approved and reviewed by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Dentistry of the Federico Villarreal National University with code No. 0001-11-2020 CEI-FO-UNFV.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Data availability statement

The data that support the study results are available from the corresponding author (Dr. Frank Mayta-Tovalino, e-mail: [email protected]) on request.

 
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