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Unravelling the relationship between trust in government and voluntary adoption of preventative behaviour through health belief model: a cross-culture study

Farhan Sarwar (Division of Management and Administrative Sciences, UE Business School, University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan)
Hassan Imam (Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan) (University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan)
Hafiz Tahir Jameel (Department of Special Education, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Siti Aisyah Panatik (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Human Resource Development and Psychology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Malaysia)
Donald E. Brannen (Greene County Public Health, Xenia, Ohio, USA)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 22 June 2022




Despite the established relationship between the public's trust in government and their adoption of preventive behaviour, lesser is known about the underlying mechanism that explains trust in government—preventive behaviour nexus. This study adopted the health belief model to propose five types of health perceptions as a mediator between trust in government and the public's voluntary adoption of recommended preventions for COVID-19.


To collect primary quantitative data, a web survey was conducted using snowball sampling from Malaysia (N = 343) and Pakistan (N = 321). Measures were adopted from the existing studies. Structural equation modelling-partial least square through SmartPLS was used to analyse the proposed framework and hypotheses testing.


Results revealed that trust is a significant predictor of perceived barriers, benefits and self-efficacy in both countries. Mediation analysis indicated that perceived benefits and self-efficacy to be mediators in both samples. In the Pakistani sample, perceived barriers were also a mediator. Importance-performance analysis showed that the Malaysian public has a greater trust in their government to tackle the pandemic issue, while the trust was a relatively more important predictor of voluntary precautionary behaviour in Pakistan. A full mediation model depicted that coping health belief are an imperative link between trust and prevention.


Although developing the public's trust is related to good governance and public opinion, during a health crisis, authorities can effectively utilize the communication media and design interventions to influence health appraisals leading to higher adoption of prevention.



Sarwar, F., Imam, H., Jameel, H.T., Panatik, S.A. and Brannen, D.E. (2022), "Unravelling the relationship between trust in government and voluntary adoption of preventative behaviour through health belief model: a cross-culture study", Kybernetes, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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