Document Type : Original Article



Introduction: Rabies is a fatal zoonotic viral disease that is spread to people through animal bites.
Around 35,000-50,000 individuals worldwide die of rabies each year, of which more than 99%
of deaths occur in the developing countries. Since legislative actions does not appear to have
been effective in reducing the incidence and severity of the bites in some developed countries, it
seems public education is key to reducing animal bites. For effective education, understanding
factors affecting the preventive and protective behaviors based on appropriate health behavior
change models is important. So, the study tried to examine the relationship between Health
Belief Model (HBM) constructs and rabies preventive measures. Materials and Methods: In the
cross-sectional study, a HBM-based researcher-designed questionnaire was completed by
204 participants who were selected via cluster sampling design from urban families of the
Abadeh, Iran. The psychometric properties of the questionnaire were established. Descriptive
statistics, independent sample t-test, bivariate correlations, and stepwise multiple regression
analysis were applied to analyze data using SPSS 19. The level of significance was set a priori
at 0.05. Results: The scale mean for the total knowledge of the participants about rabies was
14.12 ± 6.04 out of 29. Participants’ preventive behaviors were significantly correlated with their
total knowledge, perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits and cues to
action, which 19% of the variation in these behaviors were explained by perceived benefits and
cues to action. Protective activities of participants who kept animals in their house had statistically
significant correlation with their total knowledge score and cues to action. 32.1% of the variation
in these activities was explained by cues to action. Discussion: Findings indicate that participants
had not enough knowledge about routes of infecting by rabies and how to prevent it. The most
powerful predictors for preventive behaviors and protective activities were perceived benefits
and cues to action, respectively, which indicate the importance of the availability of accurate
information about efficacy of these behaviors, from sources that are easily accessible, such
as healthcare providers and veterinary professionals. Conclusion: Educational programs are
needed for increasing public knowledge in
this area. And more studies should be done
to determine predictive factors of rabies
preventive measures based on other health
behavior change models.


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