Identifying potential factors associated with PCR testing for COVID-19 among Australian young people: cross-sectional findings from a longitudinal study

Article


Islam, Md Irteja, Chadwick, Verity and Martiniuk, Alexandra. 2022. "Identifying potential factors associated with PCR testing for COVID-19 among Australian young people: cross-sectional findings from a longitudinal study." BMC Public Health. 22 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-14892-1
Article Title

Identifying potential factors associated with PCR testing for COVID-19 among Australian young people: cross-sectional findings from a longitudinal study

ERA Journal ID13449
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsIslam, Md Irteja, Chadwick, Verity and Martiniuk, Alexandra
Journal TitleBMC Public Health
Journal Citation22 (1)
Article Number2424
Number of Pages12
Year2022
PublisherBioMed Central Ltd.
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1471-2458
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-14892-1
Web Address (URL)https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-022-14892-1
Abstract

Background
Testing has played a crucial role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Though COVID-19 symptoms tend to be less severe in adolescents and young adults, their highly social lifestyles can lead to increased transmission of the virus. In this study, we aimed to provide population-based estimates of polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) for the COVID-19 pandemic and identify factors associated with PCR testing in Australian youth using the latest survey data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).

Methods
We used the latest wave (9C1) of the LSAC, collected from 16 to 21-year-old Australians via an online survey between October and December 2020. In total, 2291 youths responded to the questions about COVID-19 testing including factors related to the coronavirus restriction period (CRP) in Australia. Both bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify variables (sociodemographic factors and factors related to CRP) associated with COVID-19 testing.

Results
During the study period, 26% (n = 587) of Australian youth aged between 16 and 21 years were tested for COVID-19. The strongest predictor of COVID-19 testing was living in major cities (aOR 1.82, 95% CI:1.34–2.45; p < 0.01). Increased age (aOR 1.97, 1.00–3.89; p < 0.05) and having a pre-existing medical condition (aOR 1.27, 1.02–1.59; p < 0.05) were also significantly associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 testing.

Conclusion
Age, remoteness and having a pre-existing medical illness were associated with PCR COVID-19 testing among Australian youth aged between 16 and 21 years in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. More research is warranted to identify factors associated with other COVID-19 testing methods and address the specific barriers that may limit COVID-19 testing in this age group.

KeywordsYoung adults; COVID-19; Coronavirus; COVID testing; Australia; Adolescents
Byline AffiliationsCentre for Health Research
School of Mathematics, Physics and Computing
Royal North Shore Hospital, Australia
University of Sydney
George Institute for Global Health, Australia
University of Toronto, Canada
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