The Impact of Information Sources on COVID-19-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) among University Students: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study

Baker, Israa
Marzouqa, Nizar
Yaghi, Bashar Nafe’
Adawi, Samer Osama
Yousef, Shahd
Sabooh, Tayseer Nedal
Salhab, Nataly Mazen
Khrishi, Hiba Mahmoud
Qabaja, Yahya
Riad, Abanoub
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COVID-19 is an emerging respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus accompanied by a tsunami of misinformation and fake news. This can weaken the public health responses by affecting the COVID-19-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of the public. Therefore, this cross-sectional study was designed during the early stage of the pandemic to evaluate the KAP of Palestinian university students and their commonly used information sources. We found that the most trusted information source among students was the World Health Organization (WHO), followed by the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) briefings and healthcare workers, whereas social media was the most frequently used source of information. The participants exhibited a high level of COVID-19-related knowledge, having an average score of 8.65 (range: 0–10). In total, 76% avoided going to crowded places, and only 33% wore a mask while being outdoors. The vast majority (93%) checked the accuracy of COVID-19-related information before publishing it, 56% used the WHO and MoH briefings for fact-checking, and only 8% relied on healthcare workers. This was particularly the case for those who lived in refugee camps. This study provides an insight into the information sources used by Palestinian university students, the sources they trust, and the information formats they prefer. These results may help public health authorities to locate the information sources through which university students should be targeted. Efforts should be made to recommend healthcare workers as credible information sources. In this way, they will be able to prevent the spread of misleading information and provide high-quality information, especially within unconventional settings such as refugee camps.
knowledge, information sources, information checking, COVID-19; Palestine