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Willingness of the UK Public to Volunteer for Testing in Relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic

16 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2020

See all articles by Tushna Vandrevala

Tushna Vandrevala

Kingston University - Department of Psychology

Amy Montague

Kingston University - Department of Psychology

Philip Terry

Kingston University - Department of Psychology

Mark Fielder

Kingston University - Department of Biomolecular Sciences

More...

Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization declared the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world to be a global public health emergency. The spread of the disease is influenced by people’s willingness to adopt preventative public health behaviours, such as participation in testing programmes and risk perception can be an important determinant of engagement in such behaviours.  

Methods: In this study, we present the first assessment of how the UK public (N=778) perceive the usefulness of testing for coronavirus and the factors that influence a person’s willingness to test for coronavirus.

Findings: None of the key demographic characteristics (age, gender, education, disability, vulnerability status, or professional expertise) were significantly related to the respondents’ willingness to be tested for coronavirus. However, closely following the news media was positively related to willingness to be tested. Knowledge and perceptions about Coronavirus significantly predicted willingness to test, with three significantly contributing factors: worry about the health and social impacts to self and family; personal susceptibility; and concerns about the impacts of coronavirus on specific demographic groups. Views on testing for coronavirus predicted willingness to test, with the most influential factors being importance of testing by need; negative views about widespread testing and mistrust in doctor’s advice about testing. 

Interpretation: Implications for effective risk communication and localised public health approach to encouraging public to put themselves forward for testing are discussed. We strongly advocate for effective communications and localised intervention by public health authorities, using media outlets to ensure that members of the public get tested for SARs-CoV2 when required.

Funding Statement: None.

Declaration of Interests:The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Ethics Approval Statement: The study received a favourable ethical opinion from the Kingston University Research Ethics Committee.

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, testing, risk perception, public

Suggested Citation

Vandrevala, Tushna and Montague, Amy and Terry, Philip and Fielder, Mark, Willingness of the UK Public to Volunteer for Testing in Relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675401 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3675401

Tushna Vandrevala (Contact Author)

Kingston University - Department of Psychology ( email )

United Kingdom

Amy Montague

Kingston University - Department of Psychology

Penrhyn Road
Kingston-upon-Thames
Surrey, KT1 2EE
United Kingdom

Philip Terry

Kingston University - Department of Psychology

Penrhyn Road
Kingston-upon-Thames
Surrey, KT1 2EE
United Kingdom

Mark Fielder

Kingston University - Department of Biomolecular Sciences

Penrhyn Road
Kingston-upon-Thames
Surrey, KT1 2EE
United Kingdom

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