Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Deborah Fish Ragin

Committee Member

Saundra Collins

Committee Member

Sandra Y. Lewis


Political ideology is now considered a factor that can influence one’s self-rated health status. However, to date, no studies have assessed the relationship between differences in political beliefs and a person’s health behaviors with respect to prevention of acquiring influenza. In the present study, college undergraduates were surveyed to determine how their political ideology, political associations, perception of influenza as assessed by the Health Belief Model (HBM) - here meaning perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, perceived benefits of and perceived barriers to treatment, and self rated health status (measured by the Short-Form 36 Health Survey) would influence their likelihood of taking preventive measures to protect themselves from contracting the flu. Univariate analyses showed that conservatives were significantly more likely to perceive influenza as a severe illness, (p<.05) but that liberals were significantly more likely to perceive their susceptibility to the flu and to perceive the likely benefits of treatment (p<.05). A regression analysis designed to predict perceived susceptibility as a factor of political ideology revealed that political ideology does significantly predict perceptions of influenza, but political ideology is not a factor in predicting the other three dimensions of the HBM.

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Psychology Commons