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Impact of conspiracy beliefs on Covid-19 fear and health protective behavior: a case of university students

Muhammad Asif Naveed (Library and Information Sciences, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan)
Amara Malik (Information Management, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Khalid Mahmood (Information Management, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 20 July 2021



This study investigated the impact of conspiracy beliefs on fear of Covid-19 and health protective behavior of university students in Pakistan.


A cross-sectional survey using an online questionnaire was conducted at three universities in Punjab (e.g. two public sectors and one private sector) with permission from concerned authorities for data collection. A total of 374 responses were received that were analyzed by applying both descriptive and inferential statistics.


The results indicated the prevalence of conspiracy beliefs and fear of Covid-19 among university students of two public sector universities and one private sector university. Furthermore, the conspiracy beliefs of university students predicted their fear of Covid-19. However, conspiracy beliefs did not predict the health protective behavior of university students.

Research limitations/implications

These results had serious implications for public health in Pakistan demonstrating the critical need for health education and promotion as individual preparedness along with system preparedness is essential to combat Covid-19 pandemic and infodemic. These results are useful for policymakers, healthcare professionals, university administration and library staff for making evidence-based decisions toward health education and promotion related to the Covid-19 pandemic.


It is hoped that the present study would make an invaluable contribution to existing research on promotional health in general and the role of conspiracy beliefs in putting public health at risk in particular as limited studies have been published so far.



The authors are very grateful to the study participants for their time and effort.

Ethical approval: The authors got ethical approval from the ethics board of every respective institution involved in the study.

Declaration of Interest Statement: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Naveed, M.A., Malik, A. and Mahmood, K. (2021), "Impact of conspiracy beliefs on Covid-19 fear and health protective behavior: a case of university students", Library Hi Tech, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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