COVID-19 one year on: Identification of at-risk groups for psychological trauma and poor health-protective behaviour using a telephone survey

Yuan Cao, Judy Yuen-man Siu, Daniel T.L. Shek, Ho Keung David Shum (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background: This study examined the profiles and correlates of psychological trauma, compliance with preventative measures, vaccine acceptance and participation in voluntary testing during the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic among the adult population in Hong Kong (n = 3,011). Methods: Data were collected through a telephone survey between December 2020 and February 2021, using measures of psychological trauma, compliance with preventative measures, reading news reports on COVID-19, vaccine acceptance and willingness to participate in voluntary testing. Results: The prevalence of possible post-traumatic stress disorder was found to be 12.4%. Respondents were generally compliant with routine preventative measures, and approximately half had accepted vaccination and voluntary testing. Participants who had lower levels of education, were unemployed or had no income showed greater psychological trauma symptoms, whereas female, older and more educated participants showed greater compliance with preventative measures. Participants who spent more time watching news reports of COVID-19 had greater psychological trauma, but also greater compliance. Participants who were male, older, had lower education levels or were married showed greater acceptance of vaccination and participation in voluntary testing. Conclusions: Socio-demographic factors affected both psychological trauma and engagement in health-protective measures at one year after the onset of the pandemic. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Psychology
  • Public health
  • Trauma
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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