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Objectives

The study sought to (1) explain intentions to get tested for chlamydia regularly in a group of young people living in deprived areas using the theory of planned behaviour (TPB); and (2) test whether self-identity explained additional variance in testing intentions.

Design

A cross-sectional design was used for this study.

Methods

Participants (= 278, 53% male; = 17.05 years) living in deprived areas of a UK city were recruited from a vocational education setting. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire, including measures of attitude, injunctive subjective norm, descriptive norm, perceived behavioural control, self-identity, intention and past behaviour in relation to getting tested for chlamydia regularly.

Results

The TPB explained 43% of the variance in chlamydia testing intentions with all variables emerging as significant predictors. However, self-identity explained additional variance in intentions (ΔR2 = .22) and emerged as the strongest predictor, even when controlling for past behaviour.

Conclusions

The study identified the key determinants of intention to get tested for chlamydia regularly in a sample of young people living in areas of increased deprivation: a hard-to-reach, high-risk population. The findings indicate the key variables to target in interventions to promote motivation to get tested for chlamydia regularly in equivalent samples, amongst which self-identity is critical.

Statement of contribution

What is already known on this subject? Young people living in deprived areas have been identified as an at-risk group for chlamydia. Qualitative research has identified several themes in relation to factors affecting the uptake of chlamydia testing, which fit well with the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Identity concerns have also been identified as playing an important part in young people's chlamydia testing decisions.

What does this study add?

  • TPB explained 43% of the variance in chlamydia testing intentions and all variables were significant predictors.

  • Self-identity explained additional 22% of the variance in intentions and emerged as the strongest predictor.

  • Indicates key variables to target in interventions to promote regular chlamydia testing in deprived young people.