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1.  Increasing young adults’ condom use intentions and behaviour through changing chlamydia risk and coping appraisals: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial of efficacy 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:528.
Background
Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection (STI) in England and has serious public health consequences. Young people carry a disproportionate burden of infection. A number of social cognition models identify risk appraisal as a primary motivator of behaviour suggesting that changing risk appraisals for STIs may be an effective strategy in motivating protective behaviour. Meta-analytic evidence indicates that the relationship between risk appraisal and health behaviour is small, but studies examining this relationship have been criticised for their many conceptual and methodological weaknesses. The effect of risk appraisal on health behaviour may therefore be of larger size. The proposed study aims to examine the efficacy of an intervention to increase condom use intentions and behaviour amongst young people through changing chlamydia risk and coping appraisals. Coping appraisal is targeted to avoid the intervention being counterproductive amongst recipients who do not feel able to perform the behaviour required to reduce the threat. An experimental design with follow-up, a conditional measure of risk appraisal, and analysis which controls for past behaviour, enable the relationship between risk appraisal and protective behaviour to be accurately assessed.
Methods/Design
The proposed study is a two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial using a waiting-list control design to test the efficacy of the intervention compared to a control group. Participants will be school pupils aged 13–16 years old recruited from approximately ten secondary schools. Schools will be randomised into each arm. Participants will receive their usual teaching on STIs but those in the intervention condition will additionally receive a single-session sex education lesson on chlamydia. Measures will be taken at baseline, post-intervention and at follow-up three months later. The primary outcome measure is intention to use condoms with casual sexual partners.
Discussion
As far as the authors are aware, this is the first controlled trial testing the efficacy of an intervention to increase condom use intentions and behaviour through changing chlamydia risk appraisals. It is one of few experimental studies to accurately test the relationship between risk appraisal and precautionary sexual behaviour using a conditional measure of risk appraisal and controlling for past behaviour.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-528
PMCID: PMC3680015  PMID: 23721352
Randomized controlled trial; Chlamydia; Risk appraisal; Coping appraisal; Sexual behaviour; Condom use; Motivational hypothesis
2.  Which outcome expectancies are important in determining young adults’ intentions to use condoms with casual sexual partners?: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:133.
Background
The prevalence of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection amongst young adults represents an important public health problem in the UK. Individuals’ attitude towards the use of condoms has been identified as an important determinant of behavioural intentions and action. The Theory of Planned Behaviour has been widely used to explain and predict health behaviour. This posits that the degree to which an individual positively or negatively values a behaviour (termed ‘direct attitude’) is based upon consideration of the likelihood of a number of outcomes occurring (outcome expectancy) weighted by the perceived desirability of those outcomes (outcome evaluation). Outcome expectancy and outcome evaluation when multiplied form ‘indirect attitude’. The study aimed to assess whether positive outcome expectancies of unprotected sex were more important for young adults with lower safe sex intentions, than those with safer sex intentions, and to isolate optimal outcomes for targeting through health promotion campaigns.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey design was used. Data was collected from 1051 school and university students aged 16–24 years. Measures of intention, direct attitude and indirect attitude were taken. Participants were asked to select outcome expectancies which were most important in determining whether they would use condoms with casual sexual partners.
Results
People with lower safe sex intentions were more likely than those with safer sex intentions to select all positive outcome expectancies for unprotected sex as salient, and less likely to select all negative outcome expectancies as salient. Outcome expectancies for which the greatest proportion of participants in the less safe sex group held an unfavourable position were: showing that I am a caring person, making sexual experiences less enjoyable, and protecting against pregnancy.
Conclusions
The findings point to ways in which the attitudes of those with less safe sex intentions could be altered in order to motivate positive behavioural change. They suggest that it would be advantageous to highlight the potential for condom use to demonstrate a caring attitude, to challenge the potential for protected sex to reduce sexual pleasure, and to target young adults’ risk appraisals for pregnancy as a consequence of unprotected sex with casual sexual partners.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-133
PMCID: PMC3599836  PMID: 23406327
Outcome expectancies; Condom use; Theory of planned behaviour; Attitude; Expectancy-value muddle; Dimensional salience
3.  Stool submission by general practitioners in SW England - when, why and how? A qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:77.
Background
We know little about when and why general practitioners (GPs) submit stool specimens in patients with diarrhoea. The recent UK-wide intestinal infectious disease (IID2) study found ten GP consultations for every case reported to national surveillance. We aimed to explore what factors influence GP’s decisions to send stool specimens for laboratory investigation, and what guidance, if any, informs them.
Methods
We used qualitative methods that enabled us to explore opinions and ask open questions through 20 telephone interviews with GPs with a range of stool submission rates in England, and a discussion group with 24 GPs. Interviews were transcribed and subjected to content analysis.
Results
Interviews: GPs only sent stool specimens to microbiology if diarrhoea persisted for over one week, after recent travel, or the patient was very unwell. Very few had a systematic approach to determine the clinical or public health need for a stool specimen. Only two GPs specifically asked patients about blood in their stool; only half asked about recent antibiotics, or potential food poisoning, and few asked about patients’ occupations. Few GPs gave patients advice on how to collect specimens.
Results from interviews and discussion group in relation to guidance: All reported that the HPA stool guidance and patient collection instructions would be useful in their clinical work, but only one GP (an interviewee) had previously accessed them. The majority of GPs would value links to guidance on electronic requests. Most GPs were surprised that a negative stool report did not exclude all the common causes of IID.
Conclusions
GPs value stool culture and laboratories should continue to provide it. Patient instructions on how to collect stool specimens should be within stool collection kits. Through readily accessible guidance and education, GPs need to be encouraged to develop a more systematic approach to eliciting and recording details in the patient’s history that indicate greater risk of severe infection or public health consequences. Mild or short duration IID (under one week) due to any cause is less likely to be picked up in national surveillance as GPs do not routinely submit specimens in these cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-77
PMCID: PMC3481435  PMID: 22870944
Stool specimens; Microbiology; Laboratory submission; Diarrhoea; Primary care; Qualitative; National guidance

Results 1-3 (3)