A qualitative analysis of perceptions of and reactions to COVID-19

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COVID-19, COVID-19 reactions, Wisconsin, pandemic response, public health nursing, qualitative research


Objective: To understand communities' perceptions, beliefs, and health-related behavior choices related to COVID-19 in order to guide public health nursing communication and interaction with patients and the community.

Design: A qualitative study, guided by the Health Belief Model (HBM), strove to comprehend the perceptions and reactions to COVID-19 among Wisconsinites.

Sample: Twenty-five diverse Wisconsin residents aged 18 or older.

Measurements: Semi-structured interviews provided information about individuals' attitudes, perceptions, and reactions to COVID-19. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes.

Results: We identified three major themes: (1) "health care starts way before you ever enter the doors of a healthcare facility"; (2) "to live in a society is to help each other"; and (3) mental health as impacted by COVID-19.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the need for greater public health support, as well as the role of Social Determinants of Health. Understanding perceptions and reactions to COVID-19 can help public health nurses understand and better respond to future pandemics.