Background: In January 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started to spread in Italy. The Italian government adopted urgent measures to hold its spread. Enforcing compliance to such measures is crucial in order to enhance their effectiveness. Engaging citizens′ in the COVID-19 preventive process is today urgent in Italy and around the world. However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous studies have investigated the role of health engagement in predicting citizens compliance to health emergency containment measures. Method: An online survey was administered between February 28th and March 4th 2020 on a representative sample of 1000 Italians. The questionnaire included a measure of Health Engagement (PHE-S) and a series of ad hoc items intended to measure both affective and behavioral responses of the citizens to the emergency in terms of perceived susceptibility to and severity of the disease, orientation towards health management, change in habits and in purchases. To investigate the relationship between Health Engagement and these variables, a series of ANOVAs, Logistic regressions and crosstabs have been carried out. Results: Less engaged people show higher levels of perceived susceptibility to the virus and of severity of the disease; they trust less scientific and healthcare authorities, they feel less self-effective in managing their own health - both in normal conditions and under stress - and are less prone to cooperate with healthcare professionals. Low levels of Health Engagement are also associated with a change in the usual purchase behavior. Conclusions: The Patient Health Engagement Model (PHE) provides a useful framework for understanding how people will respond to health threats such as pandemics. Therefore, intervention studies should focus on particular groups and on raising their levels of engagement to increase the effectiveness of educational initiatives devoted to promote preventive behaviors.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Funding StatementThis study was conducted was conducted within the CRAFT project, funded by Fondazione Cariplo & Regione LombardiaAuthor DeclarationsAll relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript.YesAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesData are available upon request to the authors
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)e0238613-N/A
Numero di pagine22
RivistaPLoS One
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • covid-19
  • health engagement

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