Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 416–426 | Cite as

Preventing the spread of H1N1 influenza infection during a pandemic: autonomy-supportive advice versus controlling instruction

  • Derwin King-Chung Chan
  • Sophie Xin YangEmail author
  • Barbara Mullan
  • Xiumin Du
  • Xin Zhang
  • Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis
  • Martin S. Hagger


Wearing facemask is an effective strategy for preventing the spread of the H1N1 in enclosed public spaces. This quasi-experiment examined the effects of University professor ‘autonomy support on students’ motivation, social cognitive factors, and intention to wear facemasks in the lecture hall during a hypothetical H1N1 pandemic. University students (N = 705) completed self-report measures of motivation, social cognitive factors, and intention according to a hypothetical H1N1 pandemic scenario in which their professors asked them to wear facemasks in the lecture hall, using either an ‘autonomy-supportive’ interpersonal style or a ‘controlling’ style. The results showed that the manipulation of professors’ autonomy support exerted a positive effect on students’ perception of autonomy support, which positively predicted their self-determined motivation, social cognitive factors, and intentions to wear facemasks. In conclusion, promoting self-determined motivation using autonomy-supportive communication styles might be an effective means of fostering individuals’ adaptive beliefs and motivation of H1N1 prevention.


Pandemic Self-determination theory Theory of planned behavior Infectious disease control Hygiene 



The authors would like to acknowledge Dr Clare Graydon of Lingnan University and Mr Ching Yin Samuel Leung of The Hong Kong Institute of Education for their sincere help and ideas at the early stage of this research project.

Conflict of interest

Derwin K. C. Chan, Sophie X. Yang, Barbara Mullan, Xiumin Du, Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis, and Martin S. Hagger declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

Supplementary material

10865_2014_9616_MOESM1_ESM.docx (11 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 10 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derwin King-Chung Chan
    • 1
  • Sophie Xin Yang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Barbara Mullan
    • 1
  • Xiumin Du
    • 3
  • Xin Zhang
    • 4
  • Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis
    • 1
  • Martin S. Hagger
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Research Group, School of Psychology and Speech PathologyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Business SchoolSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.Hebei UniversityBaodingChina
  4. 4.Peking UniversityBeijingChina

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