Background: Despite the fact that improved health, social, and economic situations have significantly affected the reduction of its infestation, pediculosis is still spreading worldwide. 

Aim: This study is conducted to evaluate the explanatory power of health belief model constructs in adoption of preventive pediculosis infestation behavior in female primary school students.

Methods: This study involves two stages. First, a cross-sectional study was conducted. In the second stage, a quasi-experimental intervention was performed. One hundred eighty female elementary school students in Omidiyeh County were randomly selected in two 90-subject groups (experimental and control). Samples were matched in two groups in terms of demographic variables. A group of educational intervention was based on the most effective construct of the first stage; and the educational intervention of control group was based on the low-effective construct. The path analysis and LISREL 8.5 software was utilized to compare the fit and the variance cover percentage of adopting preventive pediculosis infestation behaviors.

Results: According to the pre-intervention findings, there was no significant difference between experimental and control groups in terms of factors affecting the adoption of preventive pediculosis infestation behavior. This model had a weaker fit in the experimental than the control group, but these indices had better status after intervention in the experimental than the control group. Meanwhile, the cover percentage of explained variance for the experimental group after educational intervention was higher than pre-intervention, but it was lower in the control group. Finally, health belief model constructs (including the knowledge, cue to action, perceived susceptibility and severity, perceived benefits and barriers, and self-efficacy) in the experimental group, had better fit after the educational intervention compared with pre-intervention.

Conclusion: Efficiency of the health belief model was approved for adopting preventive pediculosis infestation behavior in female primary school students. The future intervention studies should utilize the structural equation modeling approach separately in experimental and control groups to compare the changes in behavior between different demographic groups in the field of pediculosis infestation behavior.


Keywords: Pediculosis, Health belief model, Path analysis
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