To identify factors associated with intention to attend a hypothetical eye health test and provide an evidence base for developing an intervention to maximise attendance, for use in studies evaluating glaucoma screening programmes.
Theory-based cross-sectional survey, based on an extended Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and the Common Sense Self-Regulation Model, conducted in June 2010.
General population including oversampling from low socioeconomic areas.
Aberdeenshire and the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark, UK.
From 867 questionnaires posted, 327 completed questionnaires were returned (38%). In hierarchical regression analysis, the three theoretical predictors in the TPB (Attitude, Subjective norm and Perceived Behavioural Control) accounted for two-thirds of the variance in intention scores (adjusted R2=0.65). All three predictors contributed significantly to prediction. Adding ‘Anticipated regret’ as a factor in the TPB model resulted in a significant increase in prediction (adjusted R2=0.74). In the Common Sense Self-Regulation Model, only illness representations about the personal consequences of glaucoma (How much do you think glaucoma would affect your life?) and illness concern (How concerned are you about getting glaucoma?) significantly predicted. The final model explained 75% of the variance in intention scores, with ethnicity significantly contributing to prediction.
In this population-based sample (including over-representation of lower socioeconomic groupings), the main predictors of intention to attend a hypothetical eye health test were Attitude, Perceived control over attendance, Anticipated regret if did not attend and black ethnicity. This evidence informs the design of a behavioural intervention with intervention components targeting low intentions and predicted to influence health-related behaviours.
The current UK practice of opportunistic case finding during routine sight tests misses a majority of those with glaucoma. Early detection and treatment of glaucoma reduces the risk of blindness.
The feasibility and cost-effectiveness of screening programmes is largely determined by uptake by the target population.
This study identified empirical evidence, based on models of behaviour change, to inform the design of an intervention to maximise uptake.
Intention to attend an eye health check to detect glaucoma is associated with positive Attitude, Perceived control over screening attendance, Anticipated regret if test is not attended, perceived consequences of glaucoma and black ethnicity. These factors can be targeted in an intervention to maximise uptake.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This study is the largest of its kind and uses a robust methodology based on plausible models of change to identify potential barriers to attendance for eye care.
The response rate was 38%, which is higher than generally achieved in similar population-based surveys.
There was evidence to suggest that this sample was representative of the target population (general population with over-representation of black ethnicity or of low socioeconomic status).