Understanding the barriers and facilitators to using self‐sampling packs for sexually transmitted infections and blood‐borne viruses: Thematic analyses for intervention optimization

Paul Flowers, Gabriele Vojt, Maria Pothoulaki, Fiona Mapp, Melvina Woode Owusu, Claudia Estcourt, Jackie A. Cassell, John Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: Self-sampling packs for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs) are widely offered. There are ongoing problems with reach and sample return rates. The packs have arisen without formal intervention development. This paper illustrates initial steps of an intervention optimization process to improve the packs. Methods: Eleven focus groups and seven interviews were conducted with convenience samples of patients recruited from sexual health clinics and members of the public (n = 56). To enable intervention optimization, firstly, we conducted an inductive appraisal of the behavioural system of using the pack to understand meaningful constituent behavioural domains. Subsequently, we conducted a thematic analysis of barriers and facilitators to enacting each sequential behavioural domain in preparation for future behaviour change wheel analysis. Results: Overall, we found that self-sampling packs were acceptable. Participants understood their overall logic and value as a pragmatic intervention that simultaneously facilitated and reduced barriers to individuals being tested for STIs and BBVs. However, at the level of each behavioural domain (e.g., reading leaflets, returning samples) problems with the pack were identified, as well as a series of potential optimizations, which might widen the reach of self-sampling and increase the return of viable samples. Conclusions: This paper provides an example of a pragmatic approach to optimizing an intervention already widely offered globally. The paper demonstrates the added value health psychological approaches offer; conceptualizing interventions in behavioural terms, pinpointing granular behavioural problems amenable for systematic further improvement.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Early online date2 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • applied psychology
  • general medicine

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