Impact of COVID-19-related knowledge on protective behaviors: The moderating role of primary sources of information

Sooyoung Kim, Ariadna Capasso, Stephanie H. Cook, Shahmir H. Ali, Abbey M. Jones, Joshua Foreman, Ralph J. DiClemente, Yesim Tozan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed the modifying role of primary source of COVID-19 information in the association between knowledge and protective behaviors related to COVID-19 among adults living in the United States (US). Data was collected from 6,518 US adults through an online cross-sectional self-administered survey via social media platforms in April 2020. Linear regression was performed on COVID-19 knowledge and behavior scores, adjusted for sociodemographic factors. An interaction term between knowledge score and primary information source was included to observe effect modification by primary information source. Higher levels of knowledge were associated with increased self-reported engagement with protective behaviors against COVID-19. The primary information source significantly moderated the association between knowledge and behavior, and analyses of simple slopes revealed significant differences by primary information source. This study shows the important role of COVID-19 information sources in affecting people's engagement in recommended protective behaviors. Governments and health agencies should monitor the use of various information sources to effectively engage the public and translate knowledge into behavior change during an evolving public health crisis like COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0260643
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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