Background - Individual health behaviors are important for restraining the spread of influenza. It is crucial to explore what makes individuals take protective measures against infectious diseases. This study aimed to explore factors associated with the public’s intention to take protective measures during the influenza pandemic.

Method - This cross-sectional study was based on the 2013 Taiwan Social Change Survey, with a nationally representative sample. The health belief model constructs and public trust effects (government action, political support, and trust level) were examined using multivariable logistic regression. This study investigated the independent predictors of four personal preventive behaviors: wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, receiving an influenza vaccine, and keeping away from public places.

Results - 77% of the 2005 participants agreed to follow preventive measures. Multiple regression analysis showed that perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, trust level, living area, and marital status were significant predictors of behaviors. While using the four protective behaviors separately as dependent variables, the models showed that the trust level was the strongest driving factor for vaccination. Married people were more likely to avoid public places. Highly educated individuals were more willing to wear masks. Regular exercise also increased the frequency of hand washing during pandemics.

Conclusion - The findings confirm that health preventive factors can predict Taiwanese individuals’ intentions against influenza contagion, and considering public trust can increase the predictive capacity of health behavior.