As the United States continues to be ravaged by COVID-19, it becomes increasingly important to implement effective public health campaigns to improve personal behaviors that help control the spread of the virus. To design effective campaigns, research is needed to understand the current mitigation intentions of the general public, diversity in those intentions, and theoretical predictors of them. COVID-19 campaigns will be particularly challenging because mitigation involves myriad, diverse behaviors. This study takes a person-centered approach to investigate data from a survey (N = 976) of Pennsylvania adults. Latent class analysis revealed five classes of mitigation: one marked by complete adherence with health recommendations (34% of the sample), one by complete refusal (9% of the sample), and three by a mixture of adherence and refusal. Statistically significant covariates of class membership included relatively positive injunctive norms, risk due to essential workers in the household, personal knowledge of someone who became infected with COVID-19, and belief that COVID-19 was a leaked biological weapon. Additionally, trait reactance was associated with non-adherence while health mavenism was associated with adherence. These findings may be used to good effect by local healthcare providers and institutions, and also inform broader policy-making decisions regarding public health campaigns to mitigate COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-412
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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