Health literacy and fear among Iranian medical students due to COVID-19: An observational study

Mohammad Pourfridoni, Moien A.B. Khan, Salman Daneshi, Habibe Vazirinasab, Zahra Nosrati, Milad Daneshi-Maskooni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The coronavirus disease of the 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a sense of fear due to uncertainties in medical students’ personal and professional lives. Medical education is challenging and poses a more significant academic and emotional rigor when compared with other professional programs. With the COVID-19 having limited treatment options, health literacy (HL) is crucial for managing and responding to the pandemic. This research aims to examine the impact of HL on COVID-19-associated fear among Iranian medical students. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted measuring the HL and fear of COVID-19 using validated scales. Two hundred and seventy-eight survey responses were received and analyzed descriptively by using SPSS software inferential statistics. Results: Mean age of participants was 22.93 ± 5.427 years. The correlation between students’ total health literacy (HELIA) scores and their fear of COVID-19 (FCV-19S) scores was −0.279 (p value =.019). The FCV-19S has a negative correlation with total HELIA in the group of females and males, single and married people, bachelor and MD students, and students living in rural areas and urban areas. The negative correlation of FCV-19S with total HELIA in males and students who reside in rural areas was the only one that was not significant. In associate degree students, the correlation between FCV-19S and total HELIA was positive but not significant. Education grades had a significant impact on FCV-19S. Furthermore, the place of residence also had a significant impact on FCV-19S. However, the gender and marital status did not significantly impact FCV-19S. Conclusions: The present study showed that students with higher HL scores had lesser fear of COVID-19. The key stakeholders require several positive strategies to reduce fear and improve health, and such vital policies will assist in improving the students’ health and achieving the sustainable developmental goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2586
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Iran
  • fear
  • health literacy
  • medical student
  • sustainable development goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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