Rural individuals and places face major vulnerabilities in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet how and why rural residents adopted preventive behaviors as a result is not well understood. Using cross-sectional data from an online panel survey of Utahans along the rural-urban continuum collected in June of 2020, we find that, overall, rural Utahans were less likely than their more urban counterparts to adopt preventive behaviors. Those who perceived less risk, knew someone sick with COVID-19, thought former President Trump was doing a good job handling the pandemic, had false optimism about the pandemic, had less formal education, and belonged to a lower economic class, were also less likely to adjust some of their behaviors. Given that COVID-19 and its variants continue to spread, and because other viral outbreaks are likely, a better understanding of preventive behavior along the rural-urban continuum and what shapes it is essential for health-related policymaking including encouraging vaccine uptake.
Ulrich-Schad, Jessica, Jennifer Givens, and Mitchell Beacham. 2022. "Preventive Behaviors Along the Rural-Urban Continuum in Utah During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 37(2): Article 4. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol37/iss2/4