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Journal of Integrative Medicine

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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on intention to use traditional Chinese medicine: A cross-sectional study based on the theory of planned behavior

Yi Xiaa,b, Lu-shao-bo Shib, Jing-hui Changb, Hua-zhang Miaob, Dong Wangb   

  1. School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, Guangdong Province, China
    School of Health Management, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, Guangdong Province, China
  • Received:2020-07-18 Accepted:2020-12-11 Online:2021-01-22 Published:2021-01-22

Objective
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become an increasingly severe public health emergency. Although traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has helped to combat COVID-19, public perception of TCM remains controversial. We used the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to identify factors that affect the intention to use TCM.

Methods
A cross-sectional web-based survey of 10,824 individuals from the general public was conducted between March 16 and April 2, 2020. The participants were recruited using a snowball sampling method. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire, based on the TPB. The questionnaire consisted of demographic characteristics and TPB structures. Structural equation modeling was used to identify predictors of intention.

Results
The results indicated the model explained 77.5% and 71.9% of intention and attitude variance. Intention to use TCM had the strongest relationship with attitude (P < 0.001), followed by past behavior (P < 0.001), subjective norms (P < 0.001) and perceived behavioral control (P < 0.001). Attitudes toward TCM were significantly affected by perceived behavioral control (P < 0.001), subjective norms (P < 0.001) and cognition of TCM (P < 0.001).

Conclusion
Attitude is a key factor in determining the intention to use TCM, followed by past behaviors, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control. Our results offer important implications for health policy makers to promote the use of TCM.

Key words: Coronavirus disease 2019, Theory of planned behavior, Traditional Chinese medicine, Intention

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