Originally published in medRXiv on 26 May 2020

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has already hit Bangladesh, and various control measures have been taken to flatten the epidemic curve. Due to the current demographic distribution in Bangladesh, young adults are vital to the demography of the country. Therefore, their precautionary behavior is very important to ensure the success of preventive policies. This exploratory study examined the differences in the adoption of precautionary behaviors among young adults, and estimated and compared the predictors of precautionary behavior adoption among young adults living in the capital city Dhaka and a nearby district, Tangail. Subject and Methods: A total of 350 respondents from each district participated in the study. ANOVA and two-sample t-tests were utilized to detect differences in precautionary behavior across demographic groups of young adults, and quantile regression modeling was used to find the predictors of adopting precautionary behaviors and to compare these predictors between the two districts. Results: Individuals who had a postgraduate education and had good mental health tended to show better precautionary behaviors in Dhaka. Female respondents from Tangail who had no psychological distress took precautionary behaviors more often than their counterparts. However, no significant differences in the adoption of precautionary behaviors to prevent COVID-19 among young adults were found between the two districts. Better self-control ability, higher education, and good mental health emerged as factors that significantly shaped the precautionary behaviors of young adults in this study. Conclusion: Having better knowledge did not ensure better adoption of precautionary behaviors among the participants. In effect, strong intervention by the government to keep people at home and distant from each other and continued lockdown for several more days are probable immediate solutions. At the same time, the economic burden on lower-income people should be addressed.