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Durham University students’ experiences of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing: a qualitative study

Jones, Leah Ffion; Batteux, Eleonore; Bonfield, Stefanie; Bhogal, Jaskiran Kaur; Taylor, Jo; Caiado, Camila; Ramagge, Jacqui; Weston, Dale

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Leah Ffion Jones

Eleonore Batteux

Stefanie Bonfield

Jaskiran Kaur Bhogal

Jo Taylor

Dale Weston


Objectives To evaluate the asymptomatic coronavirus testing programme at Durham University by exploring students’ barriers and facilitators to taking part and provide recommendations to improve the programme. Design Qualitative interviews. Setting Online. Participants 30 students enrolled at Durham University were interviewed in March 2021. Main outcome measures Attitudes towards testing, experiences of testing and barriers and facilitators to engaging in testing at Durham University. Results Key motivations for testing included protecting oneself and others and accessing facilities and events. The process of booking, accessing and doing a test was mostly easy and convenient, although some may prefer home testing. There were concerns about the accuracy of tests and the implications of a positive result. Some highlighted they might be less likely to engage in testing if vaccinated. A negative test result provided confidence to engage in their daily activities, while encouraging some to socialise more. Conclusions The findings show that the testing programme at Durham University is convenient and well organised, with testing as a potential requirement to access social events, and self-isolation support being key contributor to uptake. These findings provide insights into young adults’ attitudes towards testing and can inform testing programmes in other universities and settings with asymptomatic testing programmes.


Jones, L. F., Batteux, E., Bonfield, S., Bhogal, J. K., Taylor, J., Caiado, C., …Weston, D. (2021). Durham University students’ experiences of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 11(12),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 30, 2021
Publication Date 2021-12
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 4, 2022
Journal BMJ Open
Electronic ISSN 2044-6055
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 12


Published Journal Article (516 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-, and license their derivative works on different terms, commercially provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial.

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