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The objective of the research was to investigate acceptance of public health recommendations regarding COVID-19 in Thailand. The hypothesized framework included COVID-19 knowledge, communication, perceived risk, and perceived government response as predictors, with protective health behavior adoption as the outcome variable. A sample of Thai residents selected from across the country (n = 322) completed an online survey, which was analyzed using a structural equation modelling technique. Findings showed that COVID-19 knowledge influenced perceived risk (β = .20, p < .001), communication behavior (β = .16, p < .001), and government response (β = .17, p < .001), perceived risk (β = .47, p < .001), communication behavior (β = .54, p < .001), and government response (β = .52, p < .001), influenced adoption of protective health behaviors; and that the effect of knowledge on protective health behaviors was partially mediated by perceived risk, communication behavior and government response. These findings illustrated that protective health behavior of Thai residents against COVID-19 was influenced by perceived risk, communication surrounding COVID-19, and perceptions of government response. The main implication is that simply providing more knowledge about COVID-19 is insufficient to improve public health response. Instead, individuals need to understand their risk, through accurate communication and a strong government response to encourage adoption of protective health behavior. Academically, the research provided insight into protective health behavior, especially in relation to government response. However, more research is needed, especially regarding adoption of new and changed behavioral recommendations and the potential for resistance.
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