Health Literacy, Misinformation, Self-Perceived Risk and Fear, and Preventive Measures Related to COVID-19 in Spanish University Students.

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The "infodemic" is one of the main obstacles in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to face it, health literacy (HL) is essential since it allows for knowledge about COVID-19 and the practice of preventive measures to be fostered. This is especially relevant in university students due to their idiosyncrasy. This study aims to evaluate the level of HL related to COVID-19 (HLC), risk perception, misinformation, and the attitudes and behaviors adopted to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Spanish university students. An online questionnaire was administered to 499 Spanish university students. The HLC index presented a mean of 33.89 out of 50; a total of 63.8% had an inadequate level of HLC. They practiced a mean of 7.54 out of 9 preventive behaviors, and the mean knowledge score was 10.40 out of 13. The HLC showed significantly different scores for the degree, the practice of preventive measures, and some sources of information. The level of HL correlates with the adoption of preventive measures. The higher the severity and perceived susceptibility, the more preventive measures are taken by the students. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen the HL skills of university students and address the dissemination of misinformation. Although caution should be taken when generalizing these results due to the limitations inherent within a cross-sectional study and the convenience sampling, our results can guide the establishment of health education strategies and policies for the management of the infodemic in pandemic situations, according to this target population.
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COVID-19, attitude, behaviors, health literacy, students, surveys and questionnaires