Background: The SARS outbreak served to test both local and international outbreak management and risk communication practices. Purpose: The study compares SARS knowledge, perceptions, behaviors, and information between Finns and the Dutch during the SARS outbreak in 2003. Method: The participants of the study, who used a modified SARS Psychosocial Research Consortium survey, were drawn from Internet panels in Finland (n∈=∈308) and the Netherlands (n∈=∈373) in June 2003. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to calculate odds ratios (with 95% confidence intervals) to compare Finns with the Dutch for various levels of perceptions and behaviors. Results: Adjusted for age, education, and income, Finns were more likely to be knowledgeable and worried about SARS as well as to have low perceived comparative SARS risk and poor personal efficacy beliefs about preventing SARS. Finns were also more likely than the Dutch to have high confidence in physicians on SARS issues but less likely to have received information from the Internet and have confidence in Internet information. Conclusions: The study shed light on how two European populations differed substantially regarding lay responses to SARS. Understanding these differences is needed in formulating and executing communication and outbreak management.

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International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vartti, A.M, Oenema, A, Schreck, M, Uutela, A, de Zwart, O, Brug, J, & Aro, A.R. (2009). SARS knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors: A comparison between finns and the dutch during the SARS outbreak in 2003. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 16(1), 41–48. doi:10.1007/s12529-008-9004-6