Multi-dimensional factors related to participation in a population-wide mass COVID-19 testing program among Hong Kong adults: A population-based randomized survey

Meiqi Xin, Joseph Tak fai Lau (Corresponding Author), Mason M.C. Lau

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Mass testing is considered as an important policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and high population coverage is pivotal to its effectiveness. A range of factors derived from health behaviour theories were hypothesized to be associated with public uptake of mass testing, including illness representations of COVID-19, perceived susceptibility to COVID-19, perceived efficacy of the testing program, and general trust toward governmental measures for controlling COVID-19. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the multi-dimensional factors associated with participation in a free and voluntary population-wide mass COVID-19 testing program. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Hong Kong within two weeks after the Universal Community Testing Program for COVID-19 concluded on September 14, 2020. A random population-based telephone survey interviewed 443 Hong Kong general adults who were aged ≥18 and had not joined other COVID-19 testing programs. The dependent variable was participation in the Universal Community Testing Program. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to test the associations of participation in the program with the proposed factors. Results: The standardized participation rate of the testing program was estimated to be about 37.2% among the general adults (33.0% among males; 40.8% among females) in Hong Kong. The participation rates were significantly lower among males and younger adults. Adjusted for socio-demographics, significant factors included four dimensions of illness representations of COVID-19 (treatment control: adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.41; illness identity: AOR = 1.10; concern: AOR = 1.14; emotions: AOR = 1.10), perceived susceptibility to COVID-19 (AOR = 1.40), perceived efficacy of the testing program (AOR = 2.73), and trust toward governmental control measures (AOR = 4.30). Conclusions: The participation rate of the population-wide mass testing program was not high among general adults in Hong Kong, evidence-based health promotion is necessary. The study informs some critical factors to be addressed to effectively boost public support for the mass testing policy in response to emerging infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114692
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Illness representation
  • Mass testing
  • Response efficacy
  • Risk perception
  • Trust toward governmental measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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