This paper aimed to examine the temporal changes in psychobehavioral responses in relation to reported 2009 H1N1 influenza deaths.
Telephone interviews with 1050 members of the lay public in the Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area, Malaysia, were conducted between July 11 and September 12, 2009.
The study demonstrated that public psychobehavioral responses closely mirrored the daily number of reported deaths due to 2009 H1N1 influenza. During the weeks of escalating reported deaths, sharp rises of various domains of fear, health avoidance and protective behaviors, and impact were observed. In particular, health avoidance and protective behaviors decreases were consistent with the decline of reported deaths, indicating the paramount importance of efforts to sustain behavioral change in the general public.