The outbreak of the coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19) has greatly impacted the life and mental health of many people globally. The objective of this study was to investigate the factors associated with preventive behaviors and mental health among Chinese adults during their home quarantine in the COVID-19 period. An online questionnaire survey was administered in March 2020. The study participants were adults aged between 18 and 70 years old from 31 provinces in China. Of the 3878 participants, 1314 reported moderate levels of anxiety, and the remaining participants reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety. Findings revealed that females aged between 18 and 30 years old who had higher educational qualifications, greater levels of preventive knowledge, trust in the government, and resided in urban and medium-risk areas (R2 = 0.100, F = 27.97, p < 0.001) were more likely to exhibit preventive behaviors. In contrast, a higher negative emotional response was generally seen in males who had low levels of preventive knowledge and behaviors, higher risk perception of infection, lower trust in the government, and unhealthy lifestyles (R2 = 0.127, F = 32.33, p < 0.001). In addition, the high-risk perception of infection was positively associated with high odds of anxiety (AOR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.10–1.24), whereas a greater level of preventive knowledge (AOR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.19–0.70) and behaviors (AOR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.57–0.84), higher trust in the government’s COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures (AOR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.71–0.83), and a healthier lifestyle (AOR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.79–0.99) were negatively associated with high odds of anxiety. Results showed that a lower level of anxiety and negative emotional response were associated with better preventive behaviors against COVID-19, which were influenced by preventive knowledge, risk perception, trust in the government’s COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures, and healthy lifestyle. Findings in this study could help formulate health interventions for vulnerable groups related to gendered vulnerabilities in the COVID-19 environment to improve their mental health and preventive behaviors, especially during the period of a pandemic.
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