The Influence of Health-Related Behavior Profiles on College Students’ Perceptions of COVID-19 Safety Measures

Faith Shank, Megan Korovich, Alexandra Nicoletti, D. J. Angelone, Meredith C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


College students often engage in multiple health-related behaviors simultaneously which can lead to negative outcomes and further risky behaviors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, college students reported decreased condom use, increased solitary cannabis use, and increased alcohol consumption. This current study aimed to (1) identify profiles of health-related behaviors (i.e., alcohol consumption, cannabis use, and sexual behaviors), and (2) determine if these profiles would differ in engagement and perceived effectiveness of COVID-19 preventative measures. Participants were 273 college students from a large Northeastern U.S. public university who completed surveys about health-related behaviors during the 2021 academic year. We used a latent profile analysis to identify distinct subgroups of college students based on their engagement in health-related behaviors. Based on fit indices a three-profile solution showed the best fit: low (N = 196), moderate (N = 54), and high (N = 23). Two one-way ANOVAs examined whether profile membership predicted engagement and perceived effectiveness of COVID-19 safety measures. Participants in the low health-related behaviors profile engaged in preventative measures more than students in the other two profiles. However, profile membership did not predict perceived effectiveness of preventative behaviors. Taken together, our results indicate that college students reporting lower levels of health-related behaviors engage in more preventative measures during a pandemic. Understanding distinct health-related behaviors profiles among college students, and their links with COVID-preventative health-related behaviors, can inform prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Community Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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