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Title: Illness Perceptions of COVID-19 in Europe: Predictors, Impacts and Temporal Evolution
Authors: Neto, David Dias 
Nunes da Silva, Ana 
Roberto, Magda Sofia 
Lubenko, Jelena 
Constantinou, Marios 
Nicolaou, Christiana 
Lamnisos, Demetris 
Papacostas, Savvas S. 
Höfer, Stefan 
Presti, Giovambattista 
Squatrito, Valeria 
Vasiliou, Vasilis S. 
McHugh, Louise 
Monestès, Jean-Louis 
Baban, Adriana 
Alvarez-Galvez, Javier 
Paez-Blarrina, Marisa 
Montesinos, Francisco 
Valdivia-Salas, Sonsoles 
Ori, Dorottya 
Lappalainen, Raimo 
Kleszcz, Bartosz 
Gloster, Andrew 
Karekla, Maria 
Kassianos, Angelos P. 
Major Field of Science: Medical and Health Sciences
Field Category: Clinical Medicine
Keywords: Common sense model;COVID-19;Illness perceptions;Illness representations;Stress
Issue Date: 4-Apr-2021
Source: Frontiers in Psychology, 2021, vol. 12, articl. no. 640955
Volume: 14
Journal: Frontiers in Psychology 
Abstract: Objective: Illness perceptions (IP) are important predictors of emotional and behavioral responses in many diseases. The current study aims to investigate the COVID-19-related IP throughout Europe. The specific goals are to understand the temporal development, identify predictors (within demographics and contact with COVID-19) and examine the impacts of IP on perceived stress and preventive behaviors. Methods: This was a time-series-cross-section study of 7,032 participants from 16 European countries using multilevel modeling from April to June 2020. IP were measured with the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire. Temporal patterns were observed considering the date of participation and the date recoded to account the epidemiological evolution of each country. The outcomes considered were perceived stress and COVID-19 preventive behaviors. Results: There were significant trends, over time, for several IP, suggesting a small decrease in negativity in the perception of COVID-19 in the community. Age, gender, and education level related to some, but not all, IP. Considering the self-regulation model, perceptions consistently predicted general stress and were less consistently related to preventive behaviors. Country showed no effect in the predictive model, suggesting that national differences may have little relevance for IP, in this context. Conclusion: The present study provides a comprehensive picture of COVID-19 IP in Europe in an early stage of the pandemic. The results shed light on the process of IP formation with implications for health-related outcomes and their evolution.
ISSN: 1664-1078
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.640955
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
Type: Article
Affiliation : Instituto Universitário 
Applied Psychology Research Center Capabilities & Inclusion 
Universidade de Lisboa 
Riga Stradins University 
University of Cyprus 
Cyprus University of Technology 
European University Cyprus 
Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics 
University of Nicosia 
Innsbruck Medical University 
Kore University of Enna 
University College Cork 
University College Dublin 
University Grenoble Alpes 
Babeş-Bolyai University 
University of Cádiz 
Instituto ACT 
European University of Madrid 
University of Zaragoza 
Vadaskert Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital 
University of Jyväskylä 
University of Basel 
University College London 
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