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Title: Perceptions of travel-related health risks and pre-travel health-seeking behaviour among students: A qualitative analysis.
Author: Sohail, Asma
Akritidis, Jordan
McGuinness, Sarah
Leder, Karen
Issue Date: 2023
Publication Title: Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease
Volume: 52
Start Page: 102532
Abstract: Background The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel risk perceptions and pre-travel healthcare attendance is unknown. We aimed to explore barriers and enablers to engagement in and uptake of pre-travel advice (PTA) among university students, a recognised at-risk group for travel-related morbidity and poor PTA uptake. Additionally, we aimed to explore whether the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced attitudes towards future PTA. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with university students (October–December 2021). Thematic analysis of the data was conducted using the Health Belief Model (HBM) framework. Results We interviewed 18 students (11 male, median age 24). Students’ risk perceptions relating to travel-related illnesses were influenced by past experiences, travel destination, vaccination status and knowledge. Barriers to seeking PTA included a lack of perceived need and concerns about accessibility/availability, whereas potential benefits included reduced health risks, vaccine-induced protection, and knowledge gain. Cues to seeking future PTA were perceived risks of travel-related illness, perceived high-risk destination, itinerary-related vaccine requirements, perceived benefits of advice and concerns about COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 risk perceptions did not consistently align with those of other travel-related illness. We used findings to inform recommendations. Conclusion The current COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to increase students' risk awareness and promote preventive travel health behaviours. Recommendations to improve students’ future engagement in PTA include: 1) increasing awareness of risks associated with travel, 2) emphasising PTA benefits, and 3) ensuring PTA is convenient, accessible and affordable.
Internal ID Number: 02073
Health Subject: COVID-19
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Research Output

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