Abstract: The exploration of patterns of health beliefs about COVID-19 among nursing students may be beneficial to identify behaviors, attitudes and knowledge about contagion risk. We sought to analyze the variables of risk perception, perceived risk factors, coping style, sense of coherence and knowledge of preventive measures as possible predictors of having suffered from COVID-19. Participants were nursing students from 13 universities in Spain. Sociodemographic and health variables were collected. To test the independent variables, the Perception Risk Coping Knowledge (PRCK-COVID-19) scale was created and validated because there was no specific survey for young people adapted to the pandemic situation of COVID-19. It was validated with adequate psychometric properties. A total of 1562 students (87.5% female, mean age 21.5 ± 5.7 years) responded. The high perception of the risk of contagion, the high level of knowledge and a coping style focused on the situation were notable. Significant differences by gender were found in the coping styles, problem-focused, avoidance and knowledge scales, with women scoring higher in all categories. The multiple regression analysis was significant (F = 3.68; p < 0.001). The predictor variables were the coping styles subscale search for support and the intrinsic and extrinsic perceived risk factors. Our model predicts that nursing students with a social support-based coping style are at a higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, based on their own health belief model.
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